Word of the Day – Abdicate

Word of the Day : December 5, 2022


verb AB-dih-kayt

What It Means

  • To abdicate is to renounce or relinquish a position of usually sovereign power. It can also mean “to cast off; discard.”
  • // The king was forced to abdicate after long-standing controversy.
  • // She abdicated her position in response to the allegations.
  • // There can be serious repercussions when someone abdicates their responsibilities.
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“American literature is peopled with runaways—those brave, brazen, or simply compromised enough to abdicate their responsibilities and take to the road.” — The New Yorker, 4 July 2022

Did you Know?

Give it up for abdicate, a word powerful enough to undo a coronation. If you need a term to describe formally throwing in the towel, this one should prove—perhaps ironically—a royal success. Coming from the prefix ab- (meaning “from,” “away,” or “off”) and the Latin verb dīcere (meaning “to speak”), abdicate is used primarily for those who give up sovereign power or who evade a very serious responsibility. English has dīcere to thank for a hodgepodge of other words, among them dictatecontradictprediction, and the crown jewel of them all: dictionary.