Tag Archives: vocabulary builder

Vocabulary Builder: Abeyance

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One of the best ways to raise your score on the GRE and SAT verbal sections is to increase your vocabulary.  So get out your flash cards and add this to your personal panoply.  I’ll also use words like panoply, that you might see on the GRE or SAT.  Go look up words you don’t know at a site like www.dictionary.com and add them to your flashcards.

a·bey·ance [uhbeyuh ns] Pronunciation Key Show IPA Pronunciation

–noun

1. temporary inactivity, cessation, or suspension: Let’s hold that problem in abeyance for a while.
2. Law. a state or condition of real property in which title is not as yet vested in a known titleholder: an estate in abeyance.

[Origin: 1520–30; < AF; OF abeance aspiration, lit., a gaping at or toward. See a-5, bay2, -ance]
1. remission, deferral.

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.


I’ve seen this word used on the GRE and SAT mainly with the first definition above.  So you can hold in abeyance the studying of the second definition until further notice.

You can see that it’s often used in the phrase “hold in abeyance.”

Short Definition: Suspension

Sample mnemonic (as always, you can use my mnemonic, but you’ll remember it better if you develop your own):
Abe AntsAbe Lincoln is stopping traffic on a suspension bridge (holding it in abeyance) because giant, red ants are climbing on the wires, threatening to eat any vehicles that try to pass.  I picture Abe clad as a traffic cop with a top hat, shrilly blowing a whistle.  I see the giant, red ants swarming on the wires, and I can hear the wires twanging as they climb.  I can hear the traffic honking and the squeal of tires as trucks, cars, and buses try to stop in time to avoid hitting Abe.  I smell exhaust and fumes.  I can feel the cold, heavy, vibrating cables of the big, red bridge as I hang on for dear life and try to avoid the approaching ants.  Abe>Ants>Suspension.