from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To relinquish (power or responsibility) formally.
  • intransitive verb To relinquish formally a high office or responsibility.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To give up, renounce, abandon, lay down, or withdraw from, as a right or claim, office, duties, dignity, authority, and the like, especially in a voluntary, public, or formal manner.
  • To discard; cast away; take leave of: as, to abdicate one's mental faculties. In civil law, to disclaim and expel from a family, as a child; disinherit during lifetime: with a personal subject, as father, parent.
  • To put away or expel; banish; renounce the authority of; dethrone; degrade.
  • Synonyms To resign, renounce, give up, quit, vacate, relinquish, lay down, abandon, desert. (See list under abandon, v.)
  • To renounce or give up something; abandon some claim; relinquish a right, power, or trust.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To relinquish or renounce a throne, or other high office or dignity.
  • transitive verb To surrender or relinquish, as sovereign power; to withdraw definitely from filling or exercising, as a high office, station, dignity.
  • transitive verb To renounce; to relinquish; -- said of authority, a trust, duty, right, etc.
  • transitive verb obsolete To reject; to cast off.
  • transitive verb (Civil Law) To disclaim and expel from the family, as a father his child; to disown; to disinherit.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb give up, such as power, as of monarchs and emperors, or duties and obligations


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin abdicāre, abdicāt-, to disclaim : ab-, away; see ab– + dicāre, to proclaim; see deik- in Indo-European roots.]


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word abdicate.


  • The word abdicate has to our ears a certain regal sound.

    The Soul of the Far East Percival Lowell 1885

  • And, opinion polls have suggested, done by various television networks that over 55 percent still want her to stay on the throne and not to retire or even to abdicate, which is not in our constitution anyway.

    CNN Transcript Apr 24, 2006 2006

  • Kamal Abu Sena urges the president to live with dignity and "abdicate," as he put it.

    Egyptian Protesters, Government Dig In 2011

  • Kamal Abu Sena urges the president to live with dignity and "abdicate," as he put it.

    Egyptian Protesters, Government Dig In 2011

  • Kamal Abu Sena urges the president to live with dignity and "abdicate," as he put it.

    Egyptian Protesters, Government Dig In 2011

  • I have never held such a high office --- nor do I aspire for it, nor have the talents to achieve it --- but I think that if I somehow was 'drafted' I would like to believe I'd follow the Mises line and "abdicate" or the Leonard Read line and "push the button".

    The Austrian Economists: 2008

  • Yes, I did mean "abdicate," as in abdicate their judgment TO that of their leaders.

    All Politics is Local Randy Smith 2006

  • There can be no doubt that nothing was further from the mind of James than to abdicate his throne-and, indeed, the Convention left open for everybody to interpret "abdicate" as a 'voluntary or an involuntary retirement from the throne as he wished.

    The British Monarchy 1910

  • Or kids tugging at their parent's arms to ask what "abdicate" means, at the very least.

    Ain't It Cool News - The best in movie, TV, DVD, and comic book news. Hercules 2010

  • The president of Ivory Coast has refused to "abdicate" in the wake of post election violence and said that any attempt to remove him will be met by force, his American representative has told The Daily Telegraph. - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph 2010


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • To give up all hope of having a flat stomach. --Mensa word list winner 2006

    March 2, 2007

  • New Products New Products New Products New Products

    The website wholesale for many kinds of fashion ,

    Many colors available .

    Delivery in 5 - 7 days

    come on,join us!

    June 11, 2011

  • The James II abdication.

    This book has dozens of pages of text where people debate back and forth the meaning of the word abdicate and whether it means desert;="is+not+a+word"

    "Then, my Lords, for that part of your Lord-ships Objection, That it is not a Word known to the Common Law of England, that cannot prevail; for, your Lordships very well known, we have very few Words in our Tongue that are of equal Antiquity with the Common Law; your Lordships know the Language of England is altered greatly in the several Successions of Time, and the Intermixture of other Nations; and if we should be Obliged to make use only of Words then known and in use; what we should deliver in such a Dialect would be very Difficult to be Understood."

    September 26, 2015