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First attested in 1788. abolition +‎ -ist.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌæ.bə.ˈlɪʃ.n̩.ɪst/
  • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌæ.bə.ˈlɪʃ.n̩.ɪst/, /ˌæ.bə.ˈlɪʃ.n̩.əst/


abolitionist (comparative more abolitionist, superlative most abolitionist)

  1. (historical) In favor of the abolition of slavery. [since the late 18th century][1]



abolitionist (plural abolitionists)

  1. A person who favors the abolition of any particular institution or practice. [since the late 18th century][1]
    • 2005, Julia O'Connell Davidson, Children in the Global Sex Trade, Polity, →ISBN, page 107:
      Both feminist and religiously inspired abolitionists have long viewed, and continue to view, male demand for commercial sex as a root cause of prostitution.
    • 2007, J. Robert Lilly, Francis T. Cullen, Richard A. Ball, Criminological Theory: Context and Consequences, SAGE, →ISBN, page 198:
      Furthermore, abolitionists argue that prisons are a form of violence and should be destroyed because they reflect “a social ethos of violence and degradation" [...] Abolitionists argue that prisons should be replaced, or at least decentralized, by democratic community control and community-based treatment that would emphasize "redress" or "restorative justice."
  2. (historical, US) A person who favored or advocated the abolition of slavery. [since the late 18th century][1]
    • 1855, Frederick Douglass, chapter 3, in My Bondage and My Freedom. [], New York, Auburn, N.Y.: Miller, Orton & Mulligan [], →OCLC:
      Among other slave notabilities of the plantation, was one called by everybody Uncle Isaac Copper. It is seldom that a slave gets a surname from anybody in Maryland; and so completely has the south shaped the manners of the north, in this respect, that even abolitionists make very little of the surname of a negro.



  • Norwegian Bokmål: abolisjonist
  • Polish: abolicjonista



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief; William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors (2002), “abolitionist”, in The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 6.