Printable Version
Pronunciation: æb-jur Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, transitive

Meaning: 1. To renounce, reject, disavow emphatically or solemnly, as to abjure cabs and buses in favor of walking. 2. To recant, take back, as to abjure a previous stance on the war.

Notes: The act of abjuring is abjuration, and someone who engages in such is an abjurer. Abjure has a stronger sense than reject. We might reject something and later accept it again; however, we would hardly return to something we have abjured. Abjure would be the term for legal rejection, as a legal abjuration of any claim on an inheritance. To disavow something is simply to deny any connection with it or responsibility for it.

In Play: Anything strongly, legally, or emphatically rejected is abjured: "The current trend is to abjure physical pain (on the child) in bringing up children." Abjuration in the second sense of the word can imply emphatically breaking off or away from: "Madeleine abjured her engagement to Ezekiel when she discovered that he was addicted to crossword puzzles."

Word History: This word comes to us from Latin abiurare "deny on oath" (Latin had no J), made up of ab "away (from)" + iurare "to swear" (an oath). Iurare is based on ius "law, justice" (iur-is "of law, of justice"), the origin of English jury. This root is also visible in several other English legal words borrowed from Latin such as jurisprudence and jurisdiction. Latin seems to be the only Indo-European language interested in this root, but it was put to wide use there; it also appears in iustus, the origin of English just and justice. (It is only just that we thank Mark Bailey for suggesting today's Good Word, so I will not abjure that responsibility: Thank you, Mark.)

Dr. Goodword,

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