from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To relinquish (power or responsibility) formally.
  • intransitive verb To relinquish formally a high office or responsibility.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To give up, renounce, abandon, lay down, or withdraw from, as a right or claim, office, duties, dignity, authority, and the like, especially in a voluntary, public, or formal manner.
  • To discard; cast away; take leave of: as, to abdicate one's mental faculties. In civil law, to disclaim and expel from a family, as a child; disinherit during lifetime: with a personal subject, as father, parent.
  • To put away or expel; banish; renounce the authority of; dethrone; degrade.
  • Synonyms To resign, renounce, give up, quit, vacate, relinquish, lay down, abandon, desert. (See list under abandon, v.)
  • To renounce or give up something; abandon some claim; relinquish a right, power, or trust.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To relinquish or renounce a throne, or other high office or dignity.
  • transitive verb To surrender or relinquish, as sovereign power; to withdraw definitely from filling or exercising, as a high office, station, dignity.
  • transitive verb To renounce; to relinquish; -- said of authority, a trust, duty, right, etc.
  • transitive verb obsolete To reject; to cast off.
  • transitive verb (Civil Law) To disclaim and expel from the family, as a father his child; to disown; to disinherit.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb give up, such as power, as of monarchs and emperors, or duties and obligations


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin abdicāre, abdicāt-, to disclaim : ab-, away; see ab– + dicāre, to proclaim; see deik- in Indo-European roots.]


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    This book has dozens of pages of text where people debate back and forth the meaning of the word abdicate and whether it means desert;="is+not+a+word"

    "Then, my Lords, for that part of your Lord-ships Objection, That it is not a Word known to the Common Law of England, that cannot prevail; for, your Lordships very well known, we have very few Words in our Tongue that are of equal Antiquity with the Common Law; your Lordships know the Language of England is altered greatly in the several Successions of Time, and the Intermixture of other Nations; and if we should be Obliged to make use only of Words then known and in use; what we should deliver in such a Dialect would be very Difficult to be Understood."

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