Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

abandon - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [transitive] abandon pronunciation in American English /əˈbændən/
Word Forms
present tense
present participleabandoning
past tenseabandoned
past participleabandoned
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    to leave someone when you should stay with them and take care of them

    His mother abandoned him when he was five days old.

    1. a.
      informal to suddenly leave someone that you are with

      I’m sorry I abandoned you like that.

  2. 2
    to leave a place, especially because it is difficult or dangerous to stay there

    Most of the villagers have abandoned their homes and fled.

    The coastal settlements were abandoned in the 19th century.

  3. 3
    to leave something in a place, especially because you are in a hurry or are trying to escape

    The stolen car was abandoned only five miles away.

  4. 4
    to stop something that you are doing or planning to do, especially because it is too difficult to continue

    George almost persuaded me to abandon my studies and join him.

    1. a.
      to stop behaving or talking in a particular way, because it does not help you to achieve what you want
      abandon all/any pretense (=stop trying to pretend something):

      By 1978, they had abandoned all pretense of democratic principles.

  5. 5
    to stop supporting or helping someone

    Hardy felt that he had been abandoned by all his followers.

derived word


 abandon pronunciation in American English noun [uncountable]


to fall over forwards so that your face hits the ground or another surface

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


the activity of exploring abandoned buildings and other manmade structures

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play