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PIE root

From Middle English abiden, from Old English ābīdan ‎(to abide, wait, remain, delay, remain behind; survive; wait for, await; expect), from Proto-Germanic *uzbīdaną ‎(to expect, tolerate), equivalent to a- +‎ bide. Cognate with Scots abyde ‎(to abide, remain), Middle High German erbīten ‎(to await, expect), Gothic 𐌿𐍃𐌱𐌴𐌹𐌳𐌰𐌽 ‎(usbeidan, to expect, await, have patience). The sense of pay for is due to influence from aby.[1]



abide ‎(third-person singular simple present abides, present participle abiding, simple past abode or abided, past participle abode or abided or (rare) abidden)

  1. (intransitive, obsolete) To wait in expectation. [Attested from prior to 1150 until the mid 17th century.][2]
  2. (intransitive, obsolete) To pause; to delay. [Attested from around (1150 to 1350) until the mid 17th century.][2]
  3. (intransitive) To stay; to continue in a place; to remain stable or fixed in some state or condition; to be left. [First attested from around (1150 to 1350).][2]
  4. (intransitive, archaic) To have one's abode; to dwell; to reside; to sojourn. [First attested from around (1350 to 1470).][2]
  5. (intransitive) To endure; to remain; to last. [First attested from around (1350 to 1470).][2]
    • 1998, Narrator (Sam Elliot), The Big Lebowski (film):
      "The Dude abides."
  6. (transitive) To stand ready for; to await for someone; watch for. [First attested prior to around 1150.][2]
    • 1485, Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Book XIII, chapter viij:
      Allas sayd she that euer I sawe yow / but he that suffred vpon the crosse for alle mankynde he be vnto yow good conduyte and saufte / and alle the hole felauship / Ryght soo departed Launcelot / & fond his felauship that abode his comyng / and so they mounted on their horses / and rode thorou the strete of Camelot
    • 1611, Bible (KJV), Acts 20:23:
      Bonds and afflictions abide me.
    • 1856-1885, Alfred Tennyson, Idylls of the King:
      I will abide the coming of my lord.
  7. (transitive) To endure without yielding; to withstand; await defiantly; to encounter; to persevere. [First attested from around (1150 to 1350).][2]
    The old oak tree abides the wind endlessly.
  8. (transitive, obsolete) To endure or undergo a hard trial or a task; to stand up under. [Attested from around (1150 to 1350) until the early 18th century.][2]
    • 1856-1885, Alfred Tennyson, Idylls of the King:
      [] And shalt abide her judgment on it.
  9. (transitive) To await submissively; accept without question; submit to. [First attested from around (1350 to 1470).][2]
    • William Shakespeare, Richard II
      To abide thy kingly doom.
  10. (transitive) To bear patiently; to tolerate; to put up with; stand. [First attested in the late 15th century.][2]
  11. (transitive) To pay for; to stand the consequences of; to answer for; to suffer for; to atone for. [First attested in the late 16th century.][2]
    • 1667, John Milton, Paradise Lost:
      How dearly I abide that boast so vain, []
  12. A component in at least one phrasal verb: abide by.

Usage notes[edit]

  • (bear patiently): Used in the negative form can't abide is used to indicate strong dislike.

Related terms[edit]


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See also[edit]


  1. ^ Philip Babcock Gove (editor), Webster's Third International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (G. & C. Merriam Co., 1976 [1909], ISBN 0-87779-101-5), page 3
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Lesley Brown (editor), The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 5th edition (Oxford University Press, 2003 [1933], ISBN 978-0-19-860575-7), page 4