Definition of abandon in English:


Line breaks: aban|don
Pronunciation: /əˈband(ə)n


[with object]
  • 1Cease to support or look after (someone); desert: her natural mother had abandoned her at an early age
    More example sentences
    • He was accusing ME of trying to desert him, abandoning him.
    • Several actors who had supported his candidacy abandoned him.
    • For all I knew, he abandoned you in the desert and had come back, with you having no idea where he was going.
    desert, leave, leave high and dry, turn one's back on, cast aside, break (up) with; jilt, strand, leave stranded, leave in the lurch, throw over
    informal run/walk out on, dump, ditch
    British informal give someone the push, give someone the big E, bin off
    archaic forsake
  • 1.1Leave (a place or vehicle) empty or uninhabited, without intending to return: derelict houses were abandoned
    More example sentences
    • The place was empty, the freshmen abandoned their rooms for the promise of ice cream.
    • After months of madness in the house, they decided to abandon the place and move back to Philadelphia.
    • And surely, I should feel equally sorry for myself - and for all those others like me who have abandoned such places.
  • 1.2 (abandon someone/thing to) Condemn someone or something to (a specified fate) by ceasing to take an interest in them: an attempt to persuade businesses not to abandon the area to inner-city deprivation
    More example sentences
    • Angry survivors told how the captain fled his ship by lifeboat and abandoned passengers to their fate.
    • But, unfortunately, some parents seem to be oblivious to this perception and abandon such children to their fate.
    • Under cover of darkness, a group of 30 men slipped away, abandoning their comrades to their fate.


[mass noun] Back to top  


abandon ship

Leave a ship because it is sinking: a Mayday message was received before all on board abandoned ship
More example sentences
  • The resultant fire forced the ship's company to abandon ship.
  • The men had no radio, lifejackets or lifebelts, and had been unable to abandon ship or attract attention to their plight.
  • Submarines were supposed to surface and give crews time to abandon ship before sinking their vessels.
Hurriedly leave an organization or enterprise: he would rather abandon ship now than resign in shame in two years
More example sentences
  • Media bosses, by contrast, seem not to be able to abandon ship quickly enough.
  • Many Britons are choosing to abandon ship in search of sunnier climates.
  • Our captains of democracy abandoned ship a long time ago.


late Middle English: from Old French abandoner, from a- (from Latin ad 'to, at') + bandon 'control' (related to ban1). The original sense was 'bring under control', later 'give in to the control of, surrender to' (sense 3 of the verb).

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