[ uh-bawrt ]
See synonyms for abort on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object)
  1. to bring forth a fetus from the uterus before the fetus is viable; miscarry.

  2. to develop incompletely; remain in a rudimentary or undeveloped state.

  1. to fail, cease, or stop at an early or premature stage.

  2. Military. to fail to accomplish a purpose or mission for any reason other than enemy action.

  3. Rocketry. (of a missile) to stop before the scheduled flight is completed.

verb (used with object)
  1. to cause to bring forth (a fetus) from the uterus before the fetus is viable.

  2. to cause (a pregnant female) to be delivered of a nonviable fetus.

  1. to cause to cease or end at an early or premature stage: We aborted our vacation when the car broke down.

  2. to terminate (a missile flight, mission, etc.) before completion.

  3. to put down or quell in the early stages: Troops aborted the uprising.

  1. a missile, rocket, etc., that has aborted.

Origin of abort

First recorded in 1570–80; from Latin abortus “miscarried,” past participle of aborīrī “to disappear, miscarry,” equivalent to ab- ab- + orīrī “to rise, come into being”; cf. orient

Other words from abort

  • un·a·bort·ed, adjective

Words that may be confused with abort

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use abort in a sentence

  • If an animal aborts unexpectedly she should be removed to separate quarters and given proper attention as promptly as possible.

    Special Report on Diseases of Cattle | U.S. Department of Agriculture

British Dictionary definitions for abort


/ (əˈbɔːt) /

  1. to undergo or cause (a woman) to undergo the termination of pregnancy before the fetus is viable

  2. (tr) to cause (a fetus) to be expelled from the womb before it is viable

  1. (intr) to fail to come to completion; go wrong

  2. (tr) to stop the development of; cause to be abandoned

  3. (intr) to give birth to a dead or nonviable fetus

  4. (of a space flight, military operation, etc) to fail or terminate prematurely

  5. (intr) (of an organism or part of an organism) to fail to develop into the mature form

  1. the premature termination or failure of (a space flight, military operation, etc)

Origin of abort

C16: from Latin abortāre, from the past participle of aborīrī to miscarry, from ab- wrongly, badly + orīrī to appear, arise, be born

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012