First attested in 1528. From Anglo-Norman abeiance (“legal expectation”), from Old French abeance (“desire”) from abeër (“to gape at, aspire after”), abaer, abair (“to desire”), from a (“to”) + baër (“to gape”), bair (“yawn”), from Medieval Latin batō (“to yawn”).
abeyance (plural abeyances)
- (law) Expectancy; condition of ownership of real property being undetermined; lapse in succession of ownership of estate, or title. [Late 16th century]
- The proceeds of the estate shall be held in abeyance in an escrow account until the minor reaches age twenty-one.
1765, William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England:
- Yet sometimes the fee may be in abeyance, that is (as the word signifies) in expectation, remembrance, and contemplation in law; there being no person in esse, in whom it can vest and abide […]
- Suspension; temporary suppression; dormant condition. [Mid 17th century]
2003, Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything, BCA, published 2003, page 376:
- Without a plausible explanation for what might have provoked an ice age, the whole theory fell into abeyance.
- (heraldry) Expectancy of a title, its right in existence but its exercise suspended.
- The broad pennant of a commodore first class has been in abeyance since 1958, together with the rank.
- 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.
- ^ William Morris (editor), The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (1971 ; American Heritage Publishing Co., Inc.; ISBN 0-395-09066-0), page 3
- ^ Philip Babcock Gove (editor), Webster's Third International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (G. & C. Merriam Co., 1976 , ISBN 0-87779-101-5), page 3
- ^ 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
- Lesley Brown (editor), The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 5th edition (Oxford University Press, 2003 , ISBN 978-0-19-860575-7), page 4