abort (v.)

1570s, "to miscarry in giving birth," from Latin abortus, past participle of aboriri "to miscarry, be aborted, fail, disappear, pass away," a compound word used in Latin for deaths, miscarriages, sunsets, etc., which according to OED is from ab, here as "amiss" (see ab-), + stem of oriri "appear, be born, arise," from PIE *heri- "to rise" (see origin). [Watkins, contra de Vaan, etc., derives the second element from a suffixed form of PIE root *er- (1) "move, set in motion."]

The English word is attested from 1610s as "to deliberately terminate" anything (intransitive), but especially a pregnancy in a human or animal. Intransitive use in aeronautics and space-flight is by 1946. Transitive meaning "to cause (a woman) to miscarry" is recorded by 1916; with the fetus or pregnancy as the object of the action, by 1966. Related: Aborted; aborting. The Latin verb for "produce an abortion" was abigo, literally "to drive away."

Origin and meaning of abort

updated on October 13, 2021

Definitions of abort from WordNet
abort (v.)
terminate before completion;
abort the mission
abort the process running on my computer
abort (v.)
cease development, die, and be aborted;
an aborting fetus
abort (v.)
terminate a pregnancy by undergoing an abortion;
abort (n.)
the act of terminating a project or procedure before it is completed;
he sent a short message requesting an abort due to extreme winds in the area
I wasted a year of my life working on an abort
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.