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[uh-bet] /əˈbɛt/
verb (used with object), abetted, abetting.
to encourage, support, or countenance by aid or approval, usually in wrongdoing:
to abet a swindler; to abet a crime.
Origin of abet
1275-1325; Middle English abette (whence Old French abeter, unless perhaps the latter, of Germanic orig., be the source for the ME), Old English *ābǣtan to hound on, equivalent to ā- a-3 + bǣtan to bait, akin to bite
Related forms
abetment, abettal, noun
unabetted, adjective
unabetting, adjective
help, aid, assist; promote.
hinder, discourage. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for abet
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • That you have harbored one of the enemy, and have tried to abet his escape.

    Peggy Owen and Liberty Lucy Foster Madison
  • Lucy smiled at the bare-faced fraud and hastened to abet it.

    Hidden Water Dane Coolidge
  • His being there is a proof of his intent to aid and abet; else, why is he there?

    The Making of Arguments J. H. Gardiner
  • How does abet differ from incite and instigate as to the time of the action?

    English Synonyms and Antonyms James Champlin Fernald
  • How friendly in thee, thus to abet the favourite purpose of my heart!

    Clarissa, Volume 4 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
British Dictionary definitions for abet


verb abets, abetting, abetted
(transitive) to assist or encourage, esp in crime or wrongdoing
Derived Forms
abetment, abettal, noun
abetter, especially (law) abettor, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French abeter to lure on, entice, from beter to bait
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for abet

late 14c. (implied in abetting), from Old French abeter "to bait, to harass with dogs," literally "to cause to bite," from a- "to" (see ad-) + beter "to bait," from a Germanic source, perhaps Low Franconian betan "incite," or Old Norse beita "cause to bite," from Proto-Germanic *baitjan, from PIE root *bheid- "to split" (see fissure). Related: Abetted; abetting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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