9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[uh-bey-uh ns] /əˈbeɪ əns/
temporary inactivity, cessation, or suspension:
Let's hold that problem in abeyance for a while.
Law. a state or condition of real property in which title is not as yet vested in a known titleholder:
an estate in abeyance.
Origin of abeyance
1520-30; < Anglo-French; Old French abeance aspiration, literally, a gaping at or toward. See a-5, bay2, -ance
1. remission, deferral. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for abeyance
  • Since then, his famous temper has been in abeyance.
  • Once war broke out, the system went into abeyance.
  • Even the laws of fraud seem to be in abeyance.
  • This proceeding was held in abeyance pending outcome of the antitrust suit.
  • Malnutrition still kills here, though Ethiopia's infamous famines are in abeyance.
  • That legal battle is in abeyance while the bankruptcy proceedings are under way.
  • Prosecutors often hold such lesser charges in abeyance for six months and then dismiss them if defendants stay out of trouble.
  • His landscapes are dreamy, almost fairy-tale scenes bathed in a granular light, images of time in abeyance.
  • Strong personal rivalries, in abeyance until now, have made this all the more complicated.
  • For the moment, however, reality is in dreamlike abeyance.
British Dictionary definitions for abeyance


usually preceded by in or into. a state of being suspended or put aside temporarily
(usually preceded by in) (law) an indeterminate state of ownership, as when the person entitled to an estate has not been ascertained
Derived Forms
abeyant, adjective
Word Origin
C16-17: from Anglo-French, from Old French abeance expectation, literally a gaping after, a reaching towards
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 abeyance

1520s, from Anglo-French abeiance "suspension," also "expectation (especially in a lawsuit)," from Old French abeance "aspiration, desire," noun of condition of abeer "aspire after, gape" from à "at" (see ad-) + ba(y)er "be open," from Latin *batare "to yawn, gape" (see abash).

Originally in French a legal term, "condition of a person in expectation or hope of receiving property;" it turned around in English law to mean "condition of property temporarily without an owner" (1650s). Root baer is also the source of English bay (n.2) "recessed space," as in "bay window."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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