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From French abandonnement, from abandonner (to abandon, relinquish). abandonner was originally equivalent to mettre à bandon (to leave to the jurisdiction, i.e. of another), bandon being from Medieval Latin bandum, bannum (order, decree, ban). Equivalent to abandon +‎ -ment. (See also English banns.)



abandonment (countable and uncountable, plural abandonments)

  1. The act of abandoning, or the state of being abandoned; total desertion; relinquishment. [Late 16th century.][1]
    • 1790-1800, Edmund Burke, Letters on a Regicide Peace:
      To what are we reserved? An adequate compensation "for the sacrifice of powers the most nearly connected with us;"— an adequate compensation "for the direct or indirect annexation to France ot all the ports of the continent, from Dunkirk to Hamburgh;"— an adequate compensation "for the abandonment of the independence of Europe!"
  2. The voluntary leaving of a person to whom one is bound by a special relation, as a wife, husband or child; desertion.
    Since he left her, she's suing him for divorce on grounds of abandonment.
  3. An abandoned building or structure.
    High-profile abandonments are harder to infiltrate for urban explorers due to their heightened security.
  4. (law) The relinquishment of a right, claim, or privilege; relinquishment of right to secure a patent by an inventor; relinquishment of copyright by an author. [Early 19th century.][1]
  5. (law) The relinquishment by the insured to the underwriters of what may remain of the property insured after a loss or damage by a peril insured against. [Early 19th century.][1]
  6. The cessation of service on a particular segment of the lines of a common carrier, as granted by a government agency.
  7. A refusal to receive freight so damaged in transit as to be worthless and render carrier liable for its value.
  8. The self-surrender to an outside influence. [Mid 19th century.][1]
  9. Abandon; careless freedom or ease; surrender to one's emotions. [Mid 19th century.][1]
    • 2008, Jake Brown, Heart: In the Studio:
      Roger, in terms of the strengths he brought to the band, was wild abandonment. So if Howard was in the pocket, Roger was bouncing off the walls, and Nancy was somewhere in the middle.



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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief; William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors (2002), “abandonment”, in The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 2.

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