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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. See abolish.


  • (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 slavery
    the abolition of laws
    the abolition of decress
    the abolition of taxes
    the abolition of debts
  2. The state of being abolished
  3. (historical, often capitalised, Britain, 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, 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), page 3-4
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 “abolition” 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, page 6.



From Latin abolitionem.



abolition f (plural abolitions)

  1. abolition

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]