Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search


Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for abhor in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)


First attested in 1449, from Middle English abhorren, borrowed from Middle French abhorrer, from Latin abhorreō (shrink away from in horror), from ab- (from) +‎ horreō (stand aghast, bristle with fear).[1]



abhor (third-person singular simple present abhors, present participle abhorring, simple past and past participle abhorred)

  1. (transitive) To regard with horror or detestation; to shrink back with shuddering from; to feel excessive repugnance toward; to detest to extremity; to loathe. [First attested from around (1350 to 1470).][2]
    • 1611, Romans 12:9, King James Bible:
      Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
  2. (transitive, obsolete, impersonal) To fill with horror or disgust. [Attested from the mid 16th century until the early 17th century.][2]
  3. (transitive) To turn aside or avoid; to keep away from; to reject.
  4. (transitive, canon law, obsolete) To protest against; to reject solemnly.
    • c. 1613 William Shakespeare, Henry VIII, act 2, scene 4:
      I utterly abhor, yea, from my soul Refuse you for my judge.
  5. (intransitive, obsolete) To shrink back with horror, disgust, or dislike; to be contrary or averse; construed with from. [Attested from the mid 16th century until the mid 17th century.][2]
    • (Can we find and add a quotation of Udall to this entry?):
      To abhor from those vices.
    • c. 1644, John Milton, "The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce", Book II, Chap. 7.
      Either then the law by harmless and needful dispenses, which the gospel is now made to deny, must have anticipated and exceeded the grace of the gospel, or else must be found to have given politic and superficial graces without real pardon, saying in general, “do this and live,” and yet deceiving and damning underhand with unsound and hollow permissions; which is utterly abhorring from the end of all law, as hath been shewed.
  6. (intransitive, obsolete) Differ entirely from. [Attested from the mid 16th century until the late 17th century.][2]



  • (to regard with horror or detestation): For semantic relationships of this sense, see hate in the Thesaurus.

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. ^ Elliott K. Dobbie, C. William Dunmore, Robert K. Barnhart, et al. (editors), Chambers Dictionary of Etymology (Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, 2004 [1998], ISBN 0550142304), page 2
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 “abhor” in Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief; William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors, The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 2002, ISBN 978-0-19-860457-0, page 4.