Meaning of “abandon” in the English Dictionary

"abandon" in British English

See all translations

abandonverb [ T ]

uk /əˈbæn.dən/ us /əˈbæn.dən/

abandon verb [ T ] (LEAVE)

B2 to leave a place, thing, or person, usually for ever:

We had to abandon the car.
By the time the rebel troops arrived, the village had already been abandoned.
As a baby he was abandoned by his mother.
We were sinking fast, and the captain gave the order to abandon ship.

More examples

  • If disturbed, the bird may abandon the nest, leaving the chicks to die.
  • It was his instinct for self-preservation that led him to abandon his former friends and transfer his allegiance to the new rulers.
  • According to an eyewitness account, the thieves abandoned their vehicle near the scene of the robbery and then ran off.
  • The police are trying to trace the mother of a newborn baby found abandoned outside a hospital.
  • The house had been abandoned for several years before they decided to demolish it.

abandon verb [ T ] (STOP)

C1 to stop doing an activity before you have finished it:

The game was abandoned at half-time because of the poor weather conditions.
They had to abandon their attempt to climb the mountain.
The party has now abandoned its policy of unilateral disarmament.

More examples

  • Sweden isn't likely ever to abandon its traditional neutrality.
  • Pressure to abandon the new motorway is increasing.
  • We were unable to get funding and therefore had to abandon the project.
  • A lot of farming techniques have been abandoned because they were too labour-intensive.
  • Most European countries have abandoned laws that make vagrancy a crime.
adjective uk /əˈbæn.dənd/ us /əˈbæn.dənd/


An abandoned baby was found in a box on the hospital steps.
noun [ U ] uk /əˈbæn.dən.mənt/ us /əˈbæn.dən.mənt/

The abandonment of the island followed nuclear tests in the area.


uk /əˈbæn.dən/ us /əˈbæn.dən/ literary

(Definition of “abandon” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"abandon" in American English

See all translations

abandonverb [ T ]

us /əˈbæn·dən/

to leave behind or run away from someone or something, or to give up something:

Air attacks forced the villagers to abandon their homes.
The weather was so bad, we abandoned our plans for a picnic.
noun [ U ] us /əˈbæn·dən·mənt/

Archeologists don’t know what could have caused a mass abandonment of the area.

(Definition of “abandon” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"abandon" in Business English

See all translations

abandonverb [ T ]

uk /əˈbændən/ us

to stop an activity before it is finished, usually because you think you cannot succeed:

abandon a project/plan/an idea The car maker has abandoned its plans to build a giant new plant.
abandon a lawsuit/case/claim The high cost of legal representation can influence a person's decision about whether to abandon a claim.

to leave a person, place, or thing that needs you to care for them:

He kept the company going because he didn't want to abandon his staff.
A vehicle had been abandoned on the side of the road.

INSURANCE to allow an insurance company to keep property that has been lost or damaged, in exchange for an insurance payment

noun [ U ]

High winds forced the abandonment of efforts to erect the structure.

(Definition of “abandon” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)