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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English abyen, abye,[1] abien, abiggen,[2] from Old English ābyćġan (to buy, pay for, buy off, requite, recompense, redeem, perform, execute), from ā- + bycgan (to buy),[2] equivalent to a- +‎ buy. Cognate with Gothic 𐌿𐍃𐌱𐌿𐌲𐌾𐌰𐌽 (usbugjan).[3]



aby (third-person singular simple present abys, present participle abying, simple past and past participle abought)

  1. (transitive, obsolete) To pay for; to buy. [12th-16th c.][3]
  2. (transitive, archaic) To pay the penalty for; atone for. [from 12th c.][3]
    • Lest to thy peril thou aby it dear. - Shakespeare, Midsummer Night's Dream, III,ii
  3. (intransitive, obsolete) To pay the penalty; atone; to suffer, as a penalty. [12th-16th c.][3]
    • 1896, William Morris, The Earthly Paradise:
      Thou wouldst abye a heavy fate.
  4. (transitive, archaic) To pay as penalty, to suffer. [from 12th c.][3]
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.4:
      Who dyes, the utmost dolor doth abye; / But who that lives is lefte to waile his losse [...].
  5. (intransitive, obsolete) Endure; remain. [14th-16th c.][3]
  6. (transitive, obsolete, now limited to Scotland) Endure; experience; tolerate. [from 16th c.][3]

Usage notes[edit]

  • |Aby and abide became confused with each other for a period of time.


  1. ^ Laurence Urdang (editor), The Random House College Dictionary (Random House, 1984 [1975], ISBN 0-394-43600-8), page 7
  2. 2.0 2.1 Philip Babcock Gove (editor), Webster's Third International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (G. & C. Merriam Co., 1976 [1909], ISBN 0-87779-101-5), page 8
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Lesley Brown (editor), The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 5th edition (Oxford University Press, 2003 [1933], ISBN 978-0-19-860575-7), page 11




  1. so that, in order to, so





  1. to, in order to, so that

External links[edit]

  • aby” in Polish dictionaries at PWN