Word of the Day


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1. left empty or no longer used
2. left alone by someone who should stay with you and look after you

Origin and usage

The word abandoned is an adjective derived from the Old French word ‘abandoner’ meaning ‘surrender, give freely’. Its meaning has shifted considerably since it first appeared in English in the late 14th century, when it meant ‘self-devoted to an evil practice’. In the 1690s the word abandoned meant ‘shamelessly wicked’. It wasn’t until the late 15th century that the word abandoned achieved its common current meaning, ‘forsaken or deserted’.


Abandoned is a word used to describe things or people that have been left behind or forgotten.
Abandoned places hold a deep fascination for many people, who like to look at photos or visit these places in person to imagine what it was like before they were abandoned. There are various kinds of interesting abandoned places all over the world, forgotten for many different reasons.

Historic ruins are often popular tourist destinations in many parts of the world. Forts, castles, temples, churches and other historically significant places that have been abandoned for centuries draw hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Examples include the Colosseum in Rome and Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Other abandoned places attract visitors because they still retain a good deal of beauty even though these places were forgotten long ago. The City Hall Subway station in New York City is a lovely example of Art Deco-style architecture and design that visitors can tour, while El Hotel del Salto in Columbia has found new life as a museum.


“The struggle of my life created empathy – I could relate to pain, being abandoned, having people not love me.”
(Oprah Winfrey)

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
(Leonardo da Vinci)

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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