English edit

Etymology 1 edit

PIE word
*h₂epó

The adjective is derived from Late Middle English abiect, abject (expelled, outcast, rejected, wretched, adjective) [and other forms],[1] from Middle French abject (worthy of utmost contempt or disgust, despicable, vile; of a person: brought low, cast down; of low social position) (modern French abject, abjet (obsolete)), and from its etymon Latin abiectus (abandoned; cast or thrown aside; dejected, downcast; ordinary, undistinguished, unimportant; (by extension) base, sordid; despicable, vile; humble, low; subservient), an adjective use of the perfect passive participle of abiciō (to discard, throw away or down; to cast or push away or aside; to abandon, give up; to belittle, degrade, humble; to lower, reduce; to overthrow, vanquish; to undervalue; to waste), from ab- (prefix meaning ‘away; away from; from’) + iaciō (to cast, hurl, throw, throw away) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *(H)yeh₁- (to throw)).[2][3]

The noun is derived from the adjective.[2]

Pronunciation edit

Adjective edit

abject (comparative abjecter or more abject, superlative abjectest or most abject)

  1. Existing in or sunk to a low condition, position, or state; contemptible, despicable, miserable. [from early 15th c.]
    Synonyms: degraded, (archaic) demiss, ignoble, mean, vile, wretched, worthless
    Antonym: unabject
  2. (by extension)
    1. (chiefly with a negative connotation) Complete; downright; utter.
      Synonyms: out-and-out, unmitigated; see also Thesaurus:total
      abject failure   abject nonsense   abject terror
    2. (rare) Lower than nearby areas; low-lying.
  3. Of a person: cast down in hope or spirit; showing utter helplessness, hopelessness, or resignation; also, grovelling; ingratiating; servile. [from mid 14th c.]
    Synonyms: beggarly, cringing, slavish
    Antonym: unabject
  4. (sociology, usually nominalized) Marginalized as deviant.
    • 2007, Sean Brayton, “MTV's Jackass: Transgression, Abjection and the Economy of White Masculinity”, in Journal of Gender Studies, volume 16, page 59:
      The abject can easily be grafted onto the immigrant body, which is often conceived as something to be excluded in order to preserve a coherent yet racist national imaginary.
    • 2009, W. C. Harris, Queer Externalities: Hazardous Encounters in American Culture, SUNY Press, →ISBN, page 98:
      The disclosure of tolerance's hidden phobic lining fits in well with queer theory's embrace of the abject.
Derived terms edit
Related terms edit
Translations edit
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Noun edit

abject (plural abjects)

  1. A person in the lowest and most despicable condition; an oppressed person; an outcast; also, such people as a class. [from early 16th c.]
    Synonyms: (rare) heanling, wretch
Translations edit

Etymology 2 edit

From Late Middle English abjecten (to cast out, expel) [and other forms],[4] from abiect, abject (adjective) (see etymology 1).[5]

Sense 3 (“of a fungus: to give off (spores or sporidia)”) is modelled after German abschleudern (to give off forcefully).[5]

Pronunciation edit

Verb edit

abject (third-person singular simple present abjects, present participle abjecting, simple past and past participle abjected) (transitive, chiefly archaic)

  1. To cast off or out (someone or something); to reject, especially as contemptible or inferior. [from 15th c.]
    • 1611, Iohn Speed [i.e., John Speed], “Elizabeth Queene of England, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c. []”, in The History of Great Britaine under the Conquests of yͤ Romans, Saxons, Danes and Normans. [], London: [] William Hall and John Beale, for John Sudbury and George Humble, [], →OCLC, book IX ([Englands Monarchs] []), paragraph 104, page 848, column 1:
      [] Dauid durſt not touch Saul, though he vvas abiected by God.
    • 2001, Le’a Kent, “Fighting Abjection: Representing Fat Women”, in Jana Evans Braziel, Kathleen LeBesco, editors, Bodies out of Bounds: Fatness and Transgression, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Calif., London: University of California Press, →ISBN, part I (Revaluing Corpulence, Redefining Fat Subjectivities), page 141:
      Rather than abjecting her own fat body, the Ipecac-taking fat girl is abjecting diet culture.
  2. To cast down (someone or something); to abase; to debase; to degrade; to lower; also, to forcibly impose obedience or servitude upon (someone); to subjugate. [from 15th c.]
    • a. 1632 (date written), John Donne, “Sermon IX. Preached on Candlemas Day.”, in Henry Alford, editor, The Works of John Donne, D.D., [], volume I, London: John W[illiam] Parker, [], published 1839, →OCLC, page 182:
      What phrases of abjecting themselves, in respect of the prince, can exceed David's humble expressing of himself to Saul?
  3. (mycology) Of a fungus: to (forcibly) give off (spores or sporidia).
Derived terms edit
Translations edit

References edit

  1. ^ abject, ppl.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. 2.0 2.1 abject, adj. and n.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2021
  3. ^ abject, adj.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  4. ^ abjecten, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Compare abject, v.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2021.

Further reading edit

  • Philip Babcock Gove (editor), Webster's Third International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (G. & C. Merriam Co., 1976 [1909], →ISBN), page 4
  • Elliott K. Dobbie, C. William Dunmore, Robert K. Barnhart, et al. (editors), Chambers Dictionary of Etymology (Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, 2004 [1998], →ISBN), page 3
  • Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief, William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors (2002), “abject”, in The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford, New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 5.

Dutch edit

Etymology edit

Borrowed from French abject, from Latin abiectus.

Pronunciation edit

Adjective edit

abject (comparative abjecter, superlative abjectst)

  1. reprehensible, despicable, abject
    Het is teleologisch, infaam en het is abject.
    It is teleological, scandalous and it is reprehensible.

Inflection edit

Declension of abject
uninflected abject
inflected abjecte
comparative abjecter
positive comparative superlative
predicative/adverbial abject abjecter het abjectst
het abjectste
indefinite m./f. sing. abjecte abjectere abjectste
n. sing. abject abjecter abjectste
plural abjecte abjectere abjectste
definite abjecte abjectere abjectste
partitive abjects abjecters

Derived terms edit

French edit

Etymology edit

From Latin abiectus.

Pronunciation edit

Adjective edit

abject (feminine abjecte, masculine plural abjects, feminine plural abjectes)

  1. (literary) Worthy of utmost contempt or disgust; vile; despicable
  2. (literary, obsolete) of the lowest social position

Usage notes edit

  • Abject lacks the idea of groveling, of moral degradation over time that is present in the English word.

Derived terms edit

Related terms edit

Descendants edit

  • German: abjekt
  • Norwegian Bokmål: abjekt
  • Romanian: abject

Further reading edit

Romanian edit

Etymology edit

Borrowed from French abject, from Latin abiectus.

Pronunciation edit

Adjective edit

abject m or n (feminine singular abjectă, masculine plural abjecți, feminine and neuter plural abjecte)

  1. abject

Declension edit