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Abided vs. abode

The versatile verb abide has several meanings, including (1) to tolerate, (2) to withstand, (3) to stay in a place, and (4) to dwell. When followed by the preposition by, abide also means to conform or comply—for example, “I always abide by the rules.”

The traditional past tense and past participle of abide is abode. The form is also a noun meaning a dwelling place—so, for example, one might say, “I have abode in that abode for a year.” But through the past several centuries, abided has gained ground as the past tense and past participle, so that many 21st-century English speakers would instead say, “I have abided in that abode for a year.” Neither way is more or less correct than the other. Abided is the newer form, but it is several centuries old now and well established. Meanwhile, abode is now mostly used in its noun sense.

Examples

These writers demonstrate a few uses of abide:

So it’s always great fun when they attempt to explain why they don’t need to abide by the rules of any of those worlds. [Slate]

I have long been a republican, on the rather narrow grounds that I cannot abide the idea of Charles as king. [Independent]

The primary race of Norse gods, the Aesir abide in the capital city of Asgard. [Geeks of Doom]


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Although newer than abode, abided is common. Here are a few examples in edited publications:

Greek, Jewish, Parthian, Roman and Christian cultures synthesized and abided in harmony. [Wall Street Journal]

[F]or the Queen commands almost universal respect for having stoically abided so long within the restrictive limits of the British constitution. [Guardian]

The long-settled New Zealand Chinese worked hard, abided by the laws and endured the xenophobia. [New Zealand Herald]

And abode is mostly used as a noun, as in these examples:

All those good deeds would put me in the mood for cleaning up my abode. [Washington Post]

Toronto’s second outpost of the famed Vancouver eatery is located in the former abode of a Burger King. [National Post]

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