English Wikipedia has an article on:


From Latin abortiōnem (miscarriage, abortion), from aborior (to miscarry). Equivalent to abort +‎ -ion. Displaced earlier Middle English abort (abortion), from the same Latin origin.


  • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /əˈbɔɹ.ʃn̩/, enPR: əʹbôrshən
  • Rhymes: -ɔː(ɹ)ʃən


abortion (countable and uncountable, plural abortions)

  1. (medicine) The expulsion from the womb of a foetus or embryo before it is fully developed, with loss of the foetus; either naturally as a spontaneous abortion (now usually called a miscarriage), or deliberately as an induced abortion. [from 16th c.]
    Mary decided to have an abortion because she was too young to raise a baby.
    • 1809, William Nicholson, The British Encyclopaedia, vol IV:
      At any time after impregnation, abortion may take place: it is one of the most common complaints of pregnancy, whence it is a matter of no small consequence that every practitioner should well understand it.
    • 1997, Carlin, George, Brain Droppings[1], New York: Hyperion Books, →ISBN, LCCN 96-52373, OCLC 36084460, OL 26335012M, page 93:
      It is impossible for an abortion clinic to have a waiting list of more than nine months.
    • 2017, Ben Jacobs, The Guardian, 5 October:
      Representative Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania will resign from Congress after claims that the anti-abortion Republican had urged a woman he was having an extramarital affair with to have an abortion.
  2. (now rare) An aborted foetus; an abortus. [from 16th c.]
    • 1791, James Boswell, Life of Johnson, Oxford 2008, p. 657:
      ‘It seems too hairy for an abortion, and too small for a mature birth.’
    • 1929, Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own:
      The Fascist poem, one may fear, will be a horrid little abortion such as one sees in a glass jar in the museum of some county town.
  3. (figuratively) A misshapen person or thing; a monstrosity. [from 16th c.]
    • 1846, Charles Dickens, chapter 10, in Pictures from Italy[2]:
      Insomuch that I do honestly believe, there can be no place in the world, where such intolerable abortions, begotten of the sculptor’s chisel, are to be found in such profusion, as in Rome.
    • 2000, Jules, “please dont buy beacon cd”, in alt.fan.allman-brothers, Usenet:
      Dickey on his own manages to turn a simple bo diddley 1-2-3-4 into an absolute abortion of a song.
    • 2003, David Kerekes, Headpress 24: Powered by Love, page 133:
      an absolute abortion of a book
  4. (figuratively) Failure or abandonment of a project, promise, goal etc. [from 17th c.]
    • 1800 September 23, Jefferson, Thomas, Letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush[3]:
      The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, & they believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes.
    • 2013, Fakhry A. Assaad, James W. LaMoreaux, Travis Hughes, Field Methods for Geologists and Hydrogeologists, →ISBN, page 314:
      The transfer or loss of the project manager before the project is completed will result in lost continuity and delay or the abortion of the project and/or the report.
    • 2015, Gabriele Brandstetter, Poetics of Dance: Body, Image, and Space, →ISBN, page 73:
      [] the abrupt abortion of the trip after eleven days.
  5. (biology) Arrest of development of any organ, so that it remains an imperfect formation or is absorbed. [from 18th c.]
  6. The cessation of an illness or disease at a very early stage.


Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Further readingEdit