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[ab-uh-lish-uh-nist] /ˌæb əˈlɪʃ ə nɪst/
(especially prior to the Civil War) a person who advocated or supported the abolition of slavery in the U.S.
a person who favors the abolition of any law or practice deemed harmful to society:
the abolitionists who are opposed to capital punishment.
1830-40; abolition + -ist
Related forms
proabolitionist, noun, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for abolitionists
  • And while he certainly wasn't immune to the prejudices of his time, he did come from a family of abolitionists.
  • Indeed, he might have been designed to test the faith of abolitionists everywhere.
  • But, say the abolitionists, time-even small amounts of it-does matter.
  • Sometimes, rather, he was personally repelled by abolitionists.
  • We do know that the abolitionists don't want life without parole either.
  • The same could be said of scores of other white abolitionists.
  • Many of the early leaders of the suffrage cause began their careers as abolitionists.
  • The houses of the three abolitionists mentioned are private residences, and not open to the public.
  • Abolitionism, and abolitionists, increasingly became involved in the political arena.
  • Many of the attendees to the convention were also abolitionists whose goals included universal suffrage.
Word Origin and History for abolitionists



1795, from abolition + -ist. In Britain, applied 20c. to advocates of ending capital punishment.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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