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First attested in 1529. Either from Middle French abolition, or directly from Latin abolitiō, from aboleō (destroy).[1] Compare French abolition. Equivalent to abolish +‎ -tion.


  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌæb.əˈlɪʃ.n̩/
  • (file)


abolition (plural abolitions)

  1. The act of abolishing; an annulling; abrogation. [First attested around the early 16th century.][2]
    the abolition of debts; the abolition of laws; the abolition of slavery; the abolition of police; the abolition of taxes
  2. The state of being abolished.
  3. (historical, often capitalised, UK, US) The ending of the slave trade or of slavery. [First attested around the early 18th century.][2]
  4. (historical, often capitalised, Australia) The ending of convict transportation. [First attested around the late 18th century.][2]
  5. (obsolete) An amnesty; a putting out of memory. [Attested from the early 17th century to the early 19th century.][2]

Usage notes[edit]

The sense "amnesty", and in general any reference to "abolition of" a person, is now obsolete or unusual.


Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. 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), page 3-4
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief; William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors (2002), “abolition”, in The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 6.



From Latin abolitionem.



abolition f (plural abolitions)

  1. abolition

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