Definitions

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

  • transitive verb To approve, encourage, and support (an action or a plan of action); urge and help on.
  • transitive verb To urge, encourage, or help (a person).

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The act of aiding or encouraging, especially in a crime.
  • To encourage by aid or approval: used with a personal object, and chiefly in a bad sense.
  • To maintain; support; uphold.
  • In law, to encourage, counsel, incite, or assist in a criminal act — implying, in the case of felony, personal presence.
  • Hence To lead to or encourage the commission of.
  • Synonyms To support, encourage, second, countenance, aid, assist, back, connive at, stand by, further.

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

  • transitive verb To instigate or encourage by aid or countenance; -- used in a bad sense of persons and acts
  • transitive verb obsolete To support, uphold, or aid; to maintain; -- in a good sense.
  • transitive verb (Law) To contribute, as an assistant or instigator, to the commission of an offense.
  • noun obsolete Act of abetting; aid.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb obsolete To back up one's forecast of a doubtful issue, by staking money, etc., to bet.

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

  • verb assist or encourage, usually in some wrongdoing

Etymologies

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

[Middle English abetten, from Old French abeter, to entice : a-, to (from Latin ad-; see ad–) + beter, to bait; see bheid- in Indo-European roots.]

Examples

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