abortion
Pronunciation
  • (America) IPA: /əˈbɔɹ.ʃn̩/, enPR: əʹbôrshən
Noun

abortion

  1. (medicine) The expulsion from the womb of a foetus or embryo before it is fully developed, with loss of the foetus; either naturally as a spontaneous abortion (now usually called a miscarriage), or deliberately as an induced abortion. [from 16th c.]
    • 1809, William Nicholson, The British Encyclopaedia, vol IV:
      At any time after impregnation, abortion may take place: it is one of the most common complaints of pregnancy, whence it is a matter of no small consequence that every practitioner should well understand it.
    • 2017, Ben Jacobs, The Guardian, 5 October ↗:
      Representative Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania will resign from Congress after claims that the anti-abortion Republican had urged a woman he was having an extramarital affair with to have an abortion.
  2. (now, rare) An aborted foetus; an abortus. [from 16th c.]
    • 1929, Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own:
      The Fascist poem, one may fear, will be a horrid little abortion such as one sees in a glass jar in the museum of some county town.
  3. (figuratively) A misshapen person or thing; a monstrosity. [from 16th c.]
  4. (figuratively) Failure or abandonment of a project, promise, goal etc. [from 17th c.]
  5. (biology) Arrest of development of any organ, so that it remains an imperfect formation or is absorbed. [from 18th c.]
  6. The cessation of an illness or disease at a very early stage.
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