Definition of abeyance in English:


Syllabification: a·bey·ance
Pronunciation: /əˈbāəns


  • 1A state of temporary disuse or suspension: matters were held in abeyance pending further inquiries
    More example sentences
    • Manufacture of anti-retrovirals is being held in abeyance pending official government policy on the issue.
    • A measure that passed Congress and was signed by the executive might still be held in abeyance on constitutional grounds by a court.
    • This meant escalation of the pain that had been held in abeyance.
    in suspension, in a state of suspension, in a state of dormancy, in a state of uncertainty, in remission; pending, suspended, deferred, postponed, put off, put to one side, unresolved, up in the air
    informal in cold storage, on ice, on the back burner
  • 1.1 Law The position of being without, or waiting for, an owner or claimant.
    More example sentences
    • Counsel agreed to hold these actions in abeyance until the question of entitlement is determined by this court.
    • All property rights in the property to which the order relates lie in abeyance.
    • However, there were times when East himself was publisher as well as printer, in particular during the periods when the patent was in abeyance.



Pronunciation: /əˈbāənt/
More example sentences
  • Where other, more vigorous incentives are abeyant they can be expected to assume increased prominence.
  • In 1986 Her Majesty agreed to comply with the advice proffered to her by the Lords regarding abeyant peerages.
  • All Basset titles became abeyant or extinct before publication of the series began.


late 16th century (in the legal sense): from Old French abeance 'aspiration to a title', from abeer 'aspire after', from a- 'toward' + beer 'to gape'.

More definitions of abeyance

Definition of abeyance in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day milord
Pronunciation: mɪˈlɔːd
used to address an English nobleman