a-, ab-, abs-

(Latin: prefix; from, away, away from)


This prefix is normally used with elements of Latin and French origins (abs- usually joins elements beginning with c, q, or t).

The form ab- is regularly used before all vowels and h; and it becomes a- before the consonants m, p, and v. The prefix apo- has similar meanings.

This list is a very small sample of the multitudes of a-, ab-, abs- prefixes that are available in dictionaries and those in this unit are only meant to present a few examples.



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abdicant (AB di kuhnt) (adjective), more abdicant, most abdicant
A description of someone who has forsaken or has deserted his or her responsibility: Roger Smith's abdicant behavior regarding his duties did not go well with his fellow administrators.
abdicate (AB duh kayt") (verb), abdicates; abdicated; abdicating
1. To renounce formally, which is commonly done by a monarch of a throne; to vacate a throne, to relinquish, to abandon: Edward VIII of England abdicated the throne so he could marry a commoner whom he loved.

A king can abdicate, renounce, or swear away his kingly privileges and duties.

2. To refuse to accept an obligation or responsibility: When Sharon was told to revise her book, as instructed by her editor, she suddenly abdicated her contract with the publisher because she didn't agree with the new format.
3. To proclaim or declare to be no longer one's own, to disclaim, disown, cast off; especially, to disown or disinherit children: Gary Brown abdicated his responsibilities as a husband and father and never returned to be with his wife and children.
4. To give up (a right, trust, office, or dignity); to leave, to lay down, to surrender, to abandon; at first implying voluntary renunciation, but now including the idea of abandonment by default: Governments, both national and local, seem to be abdicating their responsibilities to provide a good education for all of their citizens by greatly reducing the financial expenditures that are needed.

Tom abdicated his responsibilities as a salesman and left town to look for another place to live.
5. To leave one's position, office, or power: Yielding to the pressure of public opinion, the president of the country is abdicating his political authority.

The outraged citizens forced the talk-show host to abdicate his radio program.

6. Etymology: from Latin ab-, "away" + dicare, "to proclaim". When people abdicate their positions, they "proclaim away" their authorities.

To renounce or to abandon a position.
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abdicate (AB duh kit) (adjective), more abdicate, most abdicate

A descriptive term for a person who has given up a right, a trust, or an office; either voluntarily or under pressure: The abdicate congressman resigned his position after his party urged him to leave when he finally admitted presenting himself inappropriately on an internet social-networking site.

abdication (ab" duh KAY shuhn) (s) (noun), abdications (pl)
1. The act or fact of giving up a high office, a throne, or an authority; resignation: The council denied that their decision represented any abdication of responsibility.
2. The action of formally renouncing, disowning, or casting off. Now only applied to the disowning of a son in Roman Law: In choosing the abdication of his son as his successor, the landlord broke the line of succession of ownership.
3. Resignation, surrender, abnegation: The abdication of Joy Little's position as judge left her with a sense of relief.
4. Resignation or abandonment, either formal or virtual, of sovereignty or other high trust: The abdication of Gerald Room's position as Chief Executive Officer surprised everyone.
5. A formal yielding or relinquishment of the ownership of goods by an insurer to the underwriters: The insurance company determined that the abdication of ownership of the ship was the only way to cut their losses when the ship was wrecked.

It seemed like a long summer of abdications; first the prince's abdication of the throne to marry the woman he loved, then we had the CEO's abdication of his position as head of the company.

6. Etymology: from Latin abdicationem; from ab-, "away" + dicare, "proclaim".
abdicator (s) (noun), abdicators (pl)
1. Someone who gives up a high office, formally or officially; especially, a royal throne: The duke, by giving up his title, was seen by many as an abdicator.
2. Anyone who fails to fulfill a duty or responsibility: The manager of the store lost his position because he was accused of being an abdicator of his duties.
abduce (verb), abduces; abduced; abducing
1. To lead or to draw away by some act or a persuasion: The Pied Piper was able to abduce the children to run away from home.

The ditch abduces the flood water off the street.

The children were abduced from the proximity of the barking dog by their teacher.

The woman saved the kitten's life using a bowl of milk when she abduced it to move from the ledge of the window.

2. To draw away or to move away from a median plane: The doctor had to abduce Sarah's right arm from its mid plane to the side and back again.
abducens (s) (noun); abducentes (pl)
Either of the sixth pair of cranial nerves that convey motor impulses to the rectus muscle on the lateral side of each eye: The ophthalmologist had to correct the abducentes of Maureen's eyes because she had a paralysis of the nerves which resulted in diplopia or double vision.
abducent (s) (noun), abducents (pl)
A small motor nerve that supplies the lateral rectus muscle of the eye: The abducent is the ocular muscle whose contraction turns the eyeball outward.
abducent (adjective), more abducent, most abducent
A reference to drawing away from the midline of the body or from an adjacent body part: In anatomy, the abducent muscle; such as, the "rectus laterals muscles" of the eyes, move the eyeballs outwardly.

Abducent muscles refer to the movements of one part of the body away from another section.

The abducent nerve originates in the pons, or part of the brain stem, and emerges from the brain immediately below it; then, from this point, it extends through the skull, eventually entering the back of the eye socket through a space between the skull bones.

abduct (verb), abducts; abducted; abducting
1. To lead, take away, or carry off improperly, whether by force or fraud; to carry off, to kidnap: Tamara Patrick and her child were abducted from their home.

The hitchhiker tried to abduct Jim's backpack, which was lying next to the road, when Jim was taking a toilet break.

Melinda Pearl was wondering what would happen if the man abducted the puppy without getting permission.

The customer saw Douglas Johnson abducting a package of grapes from the store.

2. To pull something; such as, a muscle, away from the midpoint or midline of the body or of a bodily limb: When Jason fell, he abducted a muscle in his leg and so he had to limp to the bench so he could sit down.
abductee (s) (noun), abductees (pl)
A person who has been taken away, or carried off improperly, whether by force or by fraud: The newspaper presented the story about the abductee of a well-known kidnapping.

Three of the abductees agreed to meet with the police in an effort to catch the guy who held them in captivity for several days before he was paid the ransom that he demanded.

abduction (s) (noun), abductions (pl)
The process of having been carried or taken away; such as, a wife, a child, a ward, or a voter: In many parts of the world, the abductions of minors under the age of sixteen take place without the consent of their parents or guardians.

The story of the Lindbergh baby abduction on March 1, 1932, was news all around the world when the child's absence was discovered and reported to his parents, who were at home, at approximately 10:00 p.m.

Today there are many reports of abductions taking place in impoverished countries.

abductor (s) (noun), abductors (pl)
1. Someone who illegally leads, or takes, another person away by force or deception: The description of the abductor matched the profile in the police station.
2. A muscle that pulls the body or a limb away from a midpoint or midline; such as, raising the arm out from the side: Eric strained both abductors in his right arm when he tried to throw the baseball.
aberrance (s) (noun), aberrances (pl)
1. A state or condition significantly different from the normal: The reality of the housing development was certainly an aberrance from what Sam had expected.
2. A wandering from what is considered to be the "right way"; a deviation from truth: The confessions by the criminals that were made at the police station appeared to be aberrances when compared to the actual facts of the case.
aberrancy (s) (noun), aberrancies (pl)
1. A situation that is significantly different from that which is considered to be normal or acceptable: Stealing is considered an aberrancy in terms of social expectations.
2. Something which is not considered to be proper, right, or usual: Dr. Carla was concerned about several aberrancies which she detected during the routine health examination of her patient.
aberrant (adjective), more aberrant, most aberrant
1. Descriptive of someone who is deviating from what is considered to be proper or from an expected course of action: Timothy's aberrant personality frequently got him into trouble with his employers.

Driving on the wrong side of a road is considered an aberrant driving practice and will result in a traffic ticket or may even cause a serious accident.

2. Not the ordinary, usual, or normal type; exceptional; abnormal: In circuses of the last century, there were often displays of pitiful animals that were aberrant in some way, like having an extra toe, a double tail, or more than one head.