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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 (someone or something) as horrifying or detestable; to feel great repugnance toward. [First attested from around (1350 to 1470).][2]
    Synonyms: detest, disdain, loathe
    I absolutely abhor being stuck in traffic jams
  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.
  5. (intransitive, obsolete) To feel horror, disgust, or dislike (towards); to be contrary or averse (to); construed with from. [Attested from the mid 16th century until the mid 17th century.][2]
  6. (intransitive, obsolete) Differ entirely from. [Attested from the mid 16th century until the late 17th century.][2]



Related terms[edit]



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