From Middle English abetten, abette, from Old French abeter (“to entice”), from a- (“to”) + beter (“hound on, urge, to bait”), from either Middle Dutch bētan (“incite”), or from Old Norse beita (“to cause to bite, bait, incite”), from Proto-Germanic *baitijaną (“to cause to bite”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰeyd- (“to split”). Cognate with Icelandic beita (“to set dogs on", "to feed”).
- Alternate etymology traces the Middle English and Old French words through Old English *ābǣtan (“to hound on”), from ā- + bǣtan (“to bait”), from the same Proto-Germanic source.
- See also bait, bet.
- (obsolete, transitive) To urge on, stimulate (a person to do) something desirable. [Attested from around (1350 to 1470) (1390) until the early 17th century.]
- (transitive) To incite; to assist or encourage by aid or countenance in crime. [First attested from around (1350 to 1470).]
1823, Ringan Gilhaize, The covenanters, by the author of Annals of the parish:
- Those who would exalt themselves by abetting the strength of the Godless, and the wrength of the oppressors.
- (transitive, archaic) To support, countenance, maintain, uphold, or aid (any good cause, opinion, or action); to maintain. [First attested in the late 16th century.]
1835, Jeremy Taylor, George Rust, editor, The whole works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor:
- Our duty is urged, and our confidence abetted.
- (obsolete) To back up one's forecast of a doubtful issue, by staking money, etc., to bet.
- For usage examples of this term, see Citations:abet.
- (to instigate or encourage by aid or countenance): incite, instigate, set on, egg on, foment, advocate, countenance, encourage, second, uphold, aid, assist, support, sustain, back, connive at.
- 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 Help:How to check translations.
abet (plural abets)
- (obsolete) Fraud or cunning. [First attested from 1150 to 1350.]
- (obsolete) An act of abetting; of helping; of giving aid. [First attested from 1350 to 1470.]
- ^ Elliott K. Dobbie, C. William Dunmore, Robert K. Barnhart, et al. (editors), Chambers Dictionary of Etymology (Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, 2004 , ISBN 0550142304), page 2
- ^ Elliott K. Dobbie, C. William Dunmore, Robert K. Barnhart, et al. (editors), Chambers Dictionary of Etymology (Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, 2004 , ISBN 0550142304), page 6
- Lesley Brown (editor), The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 5th edition (Oxford University Press, 2003 , ISBN 978-0-19-860575-7), page 4
- religious habit (clothing)