Definitions

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

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

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

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

Etymologies

Latin abdicāre, abdicāt-, to disclaim : ab-, away; see ab-1 + dicāre, to proclaim; see deik- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

Comments

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  • 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

    https://books.google.ca/books?id=uTkIAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA230&dq;="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

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

    March 2, 2007