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From Latin abortiō (miscarriage, abortion), from aborior (miscarry). See abort for more.



abortion (countable and uncountable, plural abortions)

  1. (medicine or dated) The cessation of pregnancy or fetal development: [First attested in the mid 16th century.]
    1. (medicine or dated) A miscarriage. [First attested in the mid 16th century.]
    2. (still current) An induced abortion, the act or process of inducing the cessation of pregnancy. [First attested in the mid 16th century.]
  2. (dated) The immature product of an untimely birth. [First attested in the late 16th century.]
  3. A monstrosity; a misshapen person. [First attested in the late 16th century.]
  4. (figuratively) Failure of a promise or a goal. [First attested in the early 18th century.]
  5. (biology) Arrest of development of any organ, so that it remains an imperfect formation or is absorbed. [First attested in the mid 18th century.]
  6. Any fruit or produce which is interrupted in its progress before it is matured or perfect; an idea, project, or anything that does not come to maturity.
    • 1800 September 23, Jefferson, Thomas, Letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush[1]:
      The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, & they believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes.
  7. (chiefly art) Something ugly, an artistic atrocity.
    • 1846, Charles Dickens, chapter 10, in Pictures from Italy[2]:
      Insomuch that I do honestly believe, there can be no place in the world, where such intolerable abortions, begotten of the sculptor’s chisel, are to be found in such profusion, as in Rome.
  8. The cessation of an illness or disease at a very early stage.
  9. An unpleasant or poorly executed idea or project.
    • 1999, foo...@my-deja.com, alt.fan.starwars, Usenet:
      Menace is AN ABORTION OF A MOVIE
    • 2000, Jules, “please dont buy beacon cd”, in alt.fan.allman-brothers, Usenet:
      Dickey on his own manages to turn a simple bo diddley 1-2-3-4 into an absolute abortion of a song.
    • 2003, David Kerekes, Headpress 24: Powered by Love, page 133:
      an absolute abortion of a book
  10. The act of aborting (an undertaking, such as a project or trip).
    • 2013, Fakhry A. Assaad, James W. LaMoreaux, Travis Hughes, Field Methods for Geologists and Hydrogeologists, →ISBN, page 314:
      The transfer or loss of the project manager before the project is completed will result in lost continuity and delay or the abortion of the project and/or the report.
    • 2015, Gabriele Brandstetter, Poetics of Dance: Body, Image, and Space, →ISBN, page 73:
      [] the abrupt abortion of the trip after eleven days.


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