Abandon vs. abandonment

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As a noun, abandon refers to (1) unbounded enthusiasm, or (2) a complete surrender of inhibitions. It often appears in the phrases reckless abandon and wild abandon.

Though abandon is a noun in those senses, it is confined to those uses, and the word doesn’t work in place of abandonment in the senses the state of being abandoned and the act of abandoning.



The debt limit has been treated with abandon by Republican and Democratic presidents and Congresses. [Los Angeles Times]

Players blaze through the early stages of each match with reckless abandon. [Telegraph]

Just like their federal Labor colleagues, they dumped leaders with abandon when polls showed a slump. [Herald Sun]


It also means either a commitment to a rebel victory, or the abandonment of a defeated ally. [Winnipeg Free Press]

Whether the Saudis, who are still seething at what they see as his abandonment of Hosni Mubarak, would be willing to help out, is another question altogether. [New Republic]

The announcement is a tacit and regrettable abandonment of his public commitment to close the controversial prison. [Irish Times]