Abraham Look up Abraham at Dictionary.com
masc. proper name, name of the first of the Patriarchs in the Old Testament, from Hebrew Abraham "father of a multitude," from abh "father" + *raham (cognate with Arabic ruham "multitude"); the name he altered from Abram "high father," from second element ram "high, exalted." Related: Abrahamic; Abrahamite.

Abraham-man was an old term for mendicant lunatics, or, more commonly, frauds who wandered England shamming madness so as to collect alms (1560s). According to the old explanation of the name (at least from 1640s), they originally were from Bethlehem Hospital, where in early times there was an Abraham ward or room for such persons, but the ward might have been named for the beggars.
abrasion (n.) Look up abrasion at Dictionary.com
1650s, "act of abrading," from Medieval Latin abrasionem (nominative abrasio) "a scraping," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin abradere "to scrape away, shave off," from ab "off" (see ab-) + radere "to scrape," from PIE root *rēd- "scrape, scratch, gnaw" (see rodent). From 1740 as "result of abrasion."
abrasive (adj.) Look up abrasive at Dictionary.com
"tending to wear or rub off by friction," 1805, from Latin abras-, past participle stem of abradere "to scrape away, shave off" (see abrasion) + -ive. Figurative sense of "tending to provoke anger" is first recorded 1925. Related: Abrasively; abrasiveness.
abrasive (n.) Look up abrasive at Dictionary.com
"an abrasive substance," 1850, from abrasive (adj.). Abradant in this sense is from 1868.
abraxas Look up abraxas at Dictionary.com
Cabalistic word associated with the followers of Basilides the Gnostic, 1738, of uncertain origin and many elaborate explanations. Also used in reference to a type of Gnostic amulet featuring a carved gem depicting a monstrous figure and obscure words or words connected to Hebrew or Egyptian religion.
abreast (adv.) Look up abreast at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., a contraction of on brest "side-by-side," from a- (1) + breast (n.); the notion is of "with breasts in line." To keep abreast in figurative sense of "stay up-to-date" is from 1650s.
abridge (v.) Look up abridge at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, abreggen, "make shorter, shorten, condense," from Old French abregier, abrigier "abridge, diminish, shorten" (12c., Modern French abréger), from Late Latin abbreviare "make short," from Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + breviare "shorten," from brevis "short, low, little, shallow" (see brief (adj.)) Abbreviate is the same word directly from Latin. The sound development that turned Latin -vi- to French -dg- is paralleled in assuage (from assuavidare) and deluge (from diluvium). Of writing, "shorten by omission," late 14c. Related: Abridged; abridging.
abridgement (n.) Look up abridgement at Dictionary.com
early 15c., abreggement, "act of making shorter," also, of writing, "that which has been shortened," from Old French abregement, abrigement "shortening, abbreviation," from abregier "shorten, diminish" (see abridge). Verbal noun abridging is attested from late 14c. (abregging).
abroad (adv.) Look up abroad at Dictionary.com
mid-13c., "widely apart," a contraction of on brode, from Old English on brede, "in width," literally "at wide" (see a- (1) + broad (adj.)). From c. 1300 as "at a distance from each other," hence "out of doors, away from home" (late 14c.) also "at a distance generally" (early 15c.), and the main modern sense, "out of one's country, overseas" (mid-15c.).
abrogate (v.) Look up abrogate at Dictionary.com
"abolish by authoritative act, repeal," 1520s, from Latin abrogatus, past participle of abrogare "to annul, repeal (a law)," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + rogare "propose (a law), ask, request" (see rogation). Form abrogen, from Old French abroger, is recorded from early 15c. Related: Abrogated; abrogating; abrogative.
abrogation (n.) Look up abrogation at Dictionary.com
"annulling of (a law) by legislative action," 1530s, from Latin abrogationem (nominative abrogatio) "a repeal (of a law)," noun of action from past participle stem of abrogare "annul, repeal," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + rogare "propose (a law), ask, request" (see rogation).
abrupt (adj.) Look up abrupt at Dictionary.com
1580s, "sudden, unceremonious, without notice," a figurative use from Latin abruptus "broken off," also "precipitous, steep" (as a cliff), also "disconnected," past participle of abrumpere "break off," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + rumpere "to break," from a nasalized form of the PIE root *reup- "to snatch" (see rupture (n.)). The literal sense "broken off or appearing as if broken off" is from c. 1600 in English. Of writing, "having sudden transitions, lacking continuity," 1630s. Related: Abruptly; abruptness.
abruption (n.) Look up abruption at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, "a sudden breaking off," from Latin class="foreign">abruptionem (nominative abruptio) "a breaking off," noun of action from past participle stem of abrumpere "break off," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + rumpere "to break," from a nasalized form of the PIE root *reup- "to snatch" (see rupture (n.)).
abs (n.) Look up abs at Dictionary.com
colloquial shortening of abdominals, by 1992.
abs- Look up abs- at Dictionary.com
the usual form of ab- before -c-, -q-, or -t-.
Absalom Look up Absalom at Dictionary.com
masc. proper name, King David's son in the Old Testament, often used figuratively for "favorite son," from Hebrew Abhshalom, literally "father of peace," from abh "father" + shalom "peace."
abscess (n.) Look up abscess at Dictionary.com
in pathology, "collection of pus in some part of the body," 1610s, from Latin abscessus "an abscess" (the Latin word was used in a medical sense by Celsus), literally "a going away, departure," from the stem of abscedere "withdraw, depart, retire," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + cedere "to go, withdraw," from PIE root *ked- "to go, yield" (see cede). The notion is that humors "go from" the body through the pus in the swelling.
abscessed (adj.) Look up abscessed at Dictionary.com
1846, in pathology, adjective from abscess (n.). If there is a verb abscess it would be a back-formation from this.
abscind (v.) Look up abscind at Dictionary.com
"to cut off," 1650s, from Latin abscindere "to cut off, divide, part, separate" (see abscissa). Related: Abscinded; abscinding.
abscise (v.) Look up abscise at Dictionary.com
"to cut off or away," 1610s, from Latin abscisus, past participle of abscidere "to cut away," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + caedere "to cut, cut down," from PIE *kae-id- "to strike" (see -cide). Related: Abscised; abscising.
abscissa (n.) Look up abscissa at Dictionary.com
1798 in Latin form, earlier Englished as abscisse (1690s), from Latin abscissa, short for abscissa (linea) "(a line) cut off," or (recta ex diametro) abscissa "(a line) cut off (from the diameter)," fem. of abscissus "cut off," past participle of abscindere "to cut off, divide, part, separate," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + scindere "to cut, rend, tear asunder, split; split up, part, divide, separate," from PIE *skind-, from root *skei- "to cut, separate, divide, part, split" (see schizo-). The Latin word translates Greek apolambanomene.
abscission (n.) Look up abscission at Dictionary.com
"removal or cutting away," early 15c., from Latin abscissionem (nominative abscissio) "a cutting off, a breaking off, interruption," noun of action from past participle stem of abscindere "to cut off, divide, part, separate" (see abscissa).
abscond (v.) Look up abscond at Dictionary.com
"depart suddenly and secretly," especially to escape debt or the law, 1560s, from Middle French abscondre "to hide" and directly from Latin abscondere "to hide, conceal, put out of sight," from assimilated form of ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + condere "put together, store," from assimilated form of com- "together" (see com-) + -dere "put," from PIE root *dhe- "to put, place" (source also of English do; see factitious). Related: Absconded; absconder; absconding.
absence (n.) Look up absence at Dictionary.com
"state of not being present," late 14c., from Old French absence "absence" (14c.), from Latin absentia, abstract noun from absentem (nominative absens), present participle of abesse "be away from, be absent," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + esse "to be," from PIE root *es- "to be" (see essence). Absence makes the heart grow fonder is a line from the song "Isle of Beauty" by English poet and composer Thomas Haynes Bayly (1797-1839).
absent (adj.) Look up absent at Dictionary.com
"not present, not in a certain place" (of persons), "non-existent" (of things), late 14c., from Old French absent, ausent "absent" and directly from Latin absentem (nominative absens), present participle of abesse "be away from, be absent," from assimilated form of ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + esse "to be," from PIE root *es- "to be" (see essence). Related: Absently; absentness.
absent (prep.) Look up absent at Dictionary.com
"in the absence of," 1944, principally from U.S. legal use, from absent (adj.).
absent (v.) Look up absent at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "withdraw (oneself), go away, stay away," from Old French absenter "absent (oneself)," from Late Latin absentare "cause to be away," from Latin absentem (see absent (adj.)). Related: Absented; absenting.
absent-minded (adj.) Look up absent-minded at Dictionary.com
also absentminded, "so preoccupied as to be forgetful of one's immediate surroundings," 1810, from absent (adj.) + minded. Absence of mind "habitual or temporary forgetfulness" is from 1782. Related: Absent-mindedly; absent-mindedness.
absentee (n.) Look up absentee at Dictionary.com
1530s, from absent (v.) + -ee. In reference to voting, 1932, American English.
absenteeism (n.) Look up absenteeism at Dictionary.com
1822, from absentee + -ism; originally in reference to landlords, especially in Ireland, who lived at a distance from their estates (the earlier word was absenteeship (1778) and Johnson's dictionary has absentee in the landlord sense). In reference to pupils or workers from 1922.
absinthe (n.) Look up absinthe at Dictionary.com
also absinth (though properly that means "wormwood"), "bitter, pale-green alcoholic liqueur distilled from wine mixed with wormwood" (Artemisia Absinthium), 1842, from French absinthe, "essence of wormwood" (short for extrait d'absinthe) from Latin absinthum "wormwood," from Greek apsinthion, which is perhaps from Persian (compare Persian aspand, of the same meaning). The wormwood plant itself is figurative of "bitter" sorrow; it was known as absinth in English from c. 1500; Old English used the word in the Latin form. The drink itself attained popularity from its heavy use by French soldiers in Algiers. Related: Absinthal; absinthic; absinthism.
absit omen (interj.) Look up absit omen at Dictionary.com
Latin, literally "may this omen be absent." Added to an expression of something one does not wish to be true or come true, "may it not be ominous;" from third person singular present subjunctive of abesse "be away" (see absent (adj.)) + omen (see omen).
absolute (adj.) Look up absolute at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "unrestricted, free from limitation; complete, perfect, free from imperfection;" also "not relative to something else" (mid-15c.), from Latin absolutus, past participle of absolvere "to set free, acquit; complete, bring to an end; make separate," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + solvere "loosen" (see solve).

Sense evolution probably was from "detached, disengaged" to "perfect, pure." Meaning "despotic" (1610s) is from notion of "absolute in position;" absolute monarchy is recorded from 1735 (absolute king is recorded from 1610s). Grammatical sense is from late 14c.

Absolute magnitude (1902) is the brightness a star would have at a distance of 10 parsecs (or 32.6 light years); scientific absolute value is from 1907. As a noun in metaphysics, the absolute "that which is unconditional or free from restriction; the non-relative" is from 1809.
absolutely (adv.) Look up absolutely at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "unconditionally, completely," from absolute (adj.) + -ly (2). From mid-15c. as "without reference to anything else, not relatively;" meaning "to the utmost degree" emerged by mid-16c. As a colloquial emphatic, 1892, American English.
absoluteness (n.) Look up absoluteness at Dictionary.com
1560s, "perfection," a sense now obsolete, from absolute (adj.) + -ness. Meaning "unlimited rule" is from 1610s; that of "unconditional quality" is from 1650s.
absolution (n.) Look up absolution at Dictionary.com
"remission, forgiveness," c. 1200, from Old French absolucion, earlier assolucion, from Latin absolutionem (nominative absolutio) "completion, acquittal," noun of action from past participle stem of absolvere "set free, loosen, acquit," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + solvere "loosen" (see solve). Originally of sins; in general use from c. 1400.
absolutism (n.) Look up absolutism at Dictionary.com
1753 in theology, of God's actions; 1830 in political science, "system of government where the power of the sovereign is unrestricted," in which sense it seems to have been introduced by British reformer and parliamentarian Maj. Gen. Thomas Perronet Thompson (1783-1869). See absolute and -ism.
absolutist (n.) Look up absolutist at Dictionary.com
1830 in political science, "advocate of despotism" (Thompson), from absolute + -ist on model of French absolutiste (by 1820). From 1835 as an adjective. Compare absolutism. Used in a different sense in metaphysics by the followers of Fichte, Schelling and Hegel.
absolve (v.) Look up absolve at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "release" (from an oath or obligation), from Latin absolvere "set free," especially judicially, "acquit" (source also of Old French assoldre (11c.), Modern French absoudre), from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + solvere "loosen" (see solve). In modern use, "set free from consequences or penalties of actions." Related: Absolved; absolving.
absorb (v.) Look up absorb at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Old French absorbir, assorbir (13c., Modern French absorber), from Latin absorbere "to swallow up, devour," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + sorbere "suck in," from PIE root *srebh- "to suck, absorb" (source also of Armenian arbi "I drank," Greek rhopheo "to sup greedily up, gulp down," Lithuanian srebiu "to drink greedily"). Figurative meaning "to completely grip (one's) attention" is from 1763.
absorbed (adj.) Look up absorbed at Dictionary.com
"engrossed mentally," 1763, past participle adjective in a figurative sense from absorb (v.). Related: Absorbedly.
absorbency (n.) Look up absorbency at Dictionary.com
"quality of absorbing," 1781, abstract noun from absorbent; see -cy.
absorbent (adj.) Look up absorbent at Dictionary.com
1718, from Latin absorbentem (nominative absorbens) "a drinking," present participle of absorbere "swallow up" (see absorb). Also from 1718 as a noun.
absorbing (adj.) Look up absorbing at Dictionary.com
1763, "soaking up, swallowing," present participle adjective in a figurative sense from absorb (v.). Figurative sense of "engrossing" is by 1876. Related: Absorbingly.
absorption (n.) Look up absorption at Dictionary.com
1590s, "a swallowing up" (now obsolete), from Latin absorptionem (nominative absorptio) "a swallowing," noun of action from past participle stem of absorbere "swallow up" (see absorb). From 1714 specifically of "disappearance by assimilation into something else."
absquatulate (v.) Look up absquatulate at Dictionary.com
"run away, make off," 1840, earlier absquotilate (1837), "Facetious U.S. coinage" [Weekley], perhaps based on a mock-Latin negation of squat (v.) "to settle." Said to have been used on the London stage in in the lines of rough, bragging, comical American character "Nimrod Wildfire" in the play "The Kentuckian" as re-written by British author William B. Bernard, perhaps it was in James K. Paulding's American original, "The Lion of the West." Civil War slang established skedaddle in its place. Related: Absquatulated; absquatulating; absquatulation.
abstain (v.) Look up abstain at Dictionary.com
late 14c., late 14c., "avoid (something); refrain (oneself) from; keep free from sin or vice; live austerely, practice abstinence or asceticism; be sexually continent," from Old French abstiner, abstenir (14c.), earlier astenir (13c.) "hold (oneself) back, refrain voluntarily, abstain (from what satisfies the passions), practice abstinence," from Latin abstinere/abstenere "withhold, keep back, keep off," from assimilated form of ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + tenere "to hold," from PIE root *ten- "to stretch." Specifically of liquor from late 14c. Meaning "refrain from voting" is from 1796. Related: Abstained; abstaining.
abstainer (n.) Look up abstainer at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "one who practices self-denial," agent noun from abstain. Modern use in the temperance movement and specifically with reference to alcoholic drink is from 1862. French used abstème in this sense, from Latin abstemius.
abstemious (adj.) Look up abstemious at Dictionary.com
"sparing or moderate in eating or drinking," c. 1600, from Latin abstemius "sober, temperate, abstaining from wine," from assimilated form of ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + stem of temetum "strong drink," which is related to temulentus "drunken." Etymologically it refers only to abstaining from alcoholic drink, but it was extended in Latin to temperance in living generally. Related: Abstemiously; abstemiousness.
abstention (n.) Look up abstention at Dictionary.com
1520s, "a holding off, refusal to do something," from Middle French abstention (Old French astencion), from Late Latin abstentionem (nominative abstentio) "the act of retaining," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin abstinere/abstenere "withhold, keep back, keep off," from assimilated form of ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + tenere "to hold," from PIE root *ten- "to stretch." As "a refraining from voting" by 1880.