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

  • noun The condition of being temporarily set aside; suspension.
  • noun Law A condition of undetermined ownership, as of an interest in an estate that has not yet vested.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In law, a state of expectation or contemplation.
  • noun A state of suspended action or existence, or temporary inactivity.

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

  • noun (Law) Expectancy; condition of being undetermined.
  • noun Suspension; temporary suppression.

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

  • noun heraldry Expectancy of a title, its right in existence but its exercise suspended.

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

  • noun temporary cessation or suspension


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

[Anglo-Norman, variant of Old French abeance, desire, from abaer, to gape at : a-, at (from Latin ad-; see ad–) + baer, to gape; see bay.]


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  • "The frame ... held a picture of what was at the best abeyance–at the worst, there came out of it a warning to the bottom of her heart, that no return can ever make restitution for the going away." - Elizabeth Bowen, The Heat of the Day

    February 1, 2007

  • Isn't Elizabeth Bowen a marvelous writer? She deserves to be rediscovered.

    December 1, 2007

  • "'No essay upon sleep, however brief, is considered complete without some reference to those remarkable states of the mind (or of the brain) when the will is in abeyance and the consciousness is awake . . . "

    from The Literature And Curiosities Of Dreams, by Frank Seafield; Partial Activity Of Nervous Centres. Arthur E. Durham.

    October 26, 2009

  • "The most active and recognised of the Anti-Monarchist organizations in the United Kingdom, they were a central fixture in British anarchist, and to a lesser extent, republican, movements, before going into abeyance following the arrest of 41 members in the aftermath of protests against the Queen's Golden Jubilee."

    April 18, 2010

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    June 11, 2011

  • Every creative writer, even the most immature, knows the sensation of a conscious mind in abeyance while the hand goes writing, writing at the dictation of some inner force.

    Burges Johnson, Essaying the Essay

    July 26, 2011

  • 'besitzloser Zustand'; to be in abeyance 'ausser Kraft gesetzt sein'

    S: Suspension, temporary Cessation, Expectancy (; undetermined Condition)

    A: Resumption, Continuation, Activity

    October 25, 2013