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  • First attested in 1541.
  • From Latin abdicātus (renounced), perfect passive participle of abdicō (renounce, reject, disclaim), formed from ab (away) + dicō (proclaim, dedicate, declare), akin to dīcō (say).



abdicate (third-person singular simple present abdicates, present participle abdicating, simple past and past participle abdicated)

  1. (transitive, obsolete) To disclaim and expel from the family, as a father his child; to disown; to disinherit. [Attested from the mid 16th century until the early 19th century.]
  2. (transitive, reflexive, obsolete) To formally separate oneself from or to divest oneself of. [First attested from the mid 16th century until the late 17th century.]
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To depose. [Attested from the early 17th century until the late 18th century.]
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To reject; to cast off; to discard. [Attested from the mid 16th century until the late 17th century.]
    • May 29 1647, Joseph Hall, Hard Measure
      betray and abdicate the due right both of ourselves and successors
  5. (transitive) To surrender, renounce or relinquish, as sovereign power; to withdraw definitely from filling or exercising, as a high office, station, dignity; to fail to fulfill responsibility for. [First attested in the mid 17th century.]
    to abdicate the throne, the crown, the papacy
    Note: The word abdicate was held to mean, in the case of James II, to abandon without a formal surrender.
    • 1776, Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire:
      The cross-bearers abdicated their service.
    • 1790, Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France:
      He abdicates all right to be his own governor.
    • 1856, James Anthony Froude, History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Death of Elizabeth:
      The understanding abdicates its functions.
  6. (intransitive) To relinquish or renounce a throne, or other high office or dignity; to renounce sovereignty. [First attested in the early 18th century.]
    • 1790, Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France:
      Though a king may abdicate for his own person, he cannot abdicate for the monarchy.



Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.





  1. second-person plural present indicative of abdicare
  2. second-person plural imperative of abdicare




  1. second-person plural present active imperative of abdicō