Definitions

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

  • n. The condition of being temporarily set aside; suspension: held the plan in abeyance.
  • n. Law A condition of undetermined ownership, as of an estate that has not yet been assigned.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Expectancy; condition of being undetermined.
  • n. Suspension; temporary suppression.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

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

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

  • n. temporary cessation or suspension

Etymologies

Anglo-Norman, variant of Old French abeance, desire, from abaer, to gape at : a-, at (from Latin ad-; see ad-) + baer, to gape; see bay2.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

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

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

    A: Resumption, Continuation, Activity

    October 25, 2013

  • 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

  • "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."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Movement_against_the_monarchy

    April 18, 2010

  • "'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

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

    December 1, 2007

  • "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