Abide Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

This in-depth view of the meaning of abide will help you learn the definitions, history, use, and more so you can use it every day!

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You may hear a word in all kinds of places and never really know its meaning. If a word has multiple meanings, you might not even know all the ways to use that word. The word abide is one you may have read or heard before, but you might not be clear on what it really means. Here, you’ll learn all about the word abide so that you can use it with confidence.

What Is the Meaning of Abide?

According to the Dictionary of the English Language, the word abide is a verb with a few different definitions:

  • To remain; to stay; to continue
  • To dwell; to reside; to have an abode
  • To carry on in a particular condition, attitude, or relationship
  • To tolerate; to stand; to put up with
  • To sustain; to endure; to withstand without yielding
  • To wait or to await
  • To accept without question or opposition
  • To suffer for; to pay the price for

Abide can also be used as a phrasal verb. Here are the definitions for the phrasal verb abide by:

  • To submit to; to agree to
  • To act in accordance with
  • To remain faithful; to remain steadfast; to keep

What Is the Origin of Abide?

Etymology is the linguistic history of that word. It tells the story of where the word came from, and it traces the word back as far through its history as we know. It’s interesting to see how words change and how they stay the same across languages, cultures, and time.

The Modern English word abide comes from the Middle English abyden. Middle English was the language spoken during the 300-year transitional period between Old English and Modern English. 

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the Middle English abiden comes from the Old English ābīdan and the Old English bide. The word ābīdan meant “to wait, remain, delay, wait for, await, or expect.” 

The Old English ābīdan came from the Proto-Germanic uzbīdaną, which meant “to expect or tolerate.” The word shows its Indo-European roots in similar words in other languages such as:

  • Scots abide or Scots abyde
  • Old High German irbītan
  • Middle High German erbīten 
  • Gothic usbeidan

All forms of the word in the various languages have roughly the same meaning. It’s neat to see such a small word have such a large footprint in the history of language.

How Is the Word Abide Used?

Abide is often associated with scripture from the Bible. The word is mentioned in the Bible 76 times. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for abide (yashab) was used, and it has the same meaning as the English word abide. However, it includes concepts of being in a shared space or interpersonal relationships. 

Yashab was used in a variety of the following ways in the text:

  • Make to inhabit
  • Inhabitant
  • Haunt
  • Habitations
  • Make to keep house
  • Lurking
  • Marry

In the New Testament, the classical Greek writers used the Greek word meno, which meant “to stay in a given place,” “remain,” or “stand fast.” It was one of Apostle John’s favorite words. It occurs in the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Of the 76 times the word abide appears in Bible verse, the Apostle John used it 34 times in the Gospel and 19 times in his letters. Of the disciples, John is called the one Jesus loved, so many turn to his words for guidance.

Some popular verses from the Bible Word that include the word abide are:

  • Psalm 15:1 – “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill?”
  • Galatians 3:10 – “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”
  • John 15:4 – “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”
  • Psalm 125:1 – “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.”

The Relational Element of Abiding

Many who have faith in God are said to abide in Him or abide in Jesus. They are said to abide in Christ’s grace, or they abide in their savior. They also abide by his teachings in their daily life. 

This ongoing daily dependence is at the heart of a believer’s relationship and hope for salvation. It is their belief that they will have eternal life, not by good works, works of the law, or abiding by the law of the Old Testament, but by God’s mercy in the Kingdom of God for eternity.

Other Uses For Abide

Outside of religious text, the word abide is used to express tolerance, and it is also used quite frequently to express adherence to the law. 

What Are the Synonyms of the Word Abide?

Synonyms are words that have virtually the same meaning as a word. Knowing synonyms can help you avoid redundancies in speech and writing, and they make it easier for you to fully understand that word. Here are a few synonyms for the word abide:

  • Obey
  • Uphold
  • Heed
  • Stick to
  • Hold to
  • Keep to
  • Follow
  • Observe
  • Tolerate
  • Bear
  • Endure
  • Suffer
  • Accept
  • Handle
  • Support
  • Live with
  • Continue
  • Remain
  • Survive
  • Last
  • Persist
  • Stay

What Are the Antonyms of Abide?

Antonyms have the opposite meaning of a word. By learning the antonyms of a word, you can more clearly understand what a word does not mean. By extension, you will then know more about what a word does mean. Here are antonyms for the word abide:

  • Flout
  • Reject
  • Fade
  • Disappear

What Are the Past, Present, and Future Tenses of the Word Abide?

When you use a verb like abide, it is important to know its the past, present, and future tense in order to use it correctly at all times. Here are the correct forms of abide in each tense:

  • Infinitive: abide
  • Present participle: abiding
  • Past tense: abode or abided
  • Past participle: abode, abided, or (more rarely) abidden
  • Future tense: will abide
  • Future continuous tense: will be abiding

Examples of the Word Abide in a Sentence

Example sentences are some of the best ways for us to learn how to use a word appropriately in context. Not only can you learn to use the word in a way that makes sense, but you can also get a sense of how the word should fit in the flow of a sentence. Here are some examples of how to use the word abide in a sentence:

  • My favorite quote from the movie Big Lebowski is, “The Dude Abides.”
  • The Holy Spirit abides in me.
  • I cannot abide this constant criticism.
  • You must abide by the court’s decision.
  • I shall abide in the House of the Lord. 
  • I cannot abide this dishonesty, and there will be a penalty.
  • We will abide by the verdict of the judges.
  • I cannot abide in this miserable marriage.
  • You expect me to abide as you go on with marrying him.

The Last Word

Words can have many meanings, and learning all the meanings of a word helps broaden your vocabulary. Communication is a key component in most areas of life, and improving your communication skills by having access to more words makes you more articulate and confident when speaking. Now that you know the word abide, you can easily use it in conversation.


  1. Abide Definition & Meaning | Dictionary.com 
  2. American Heritage Dictionary Entry: abide | AH Dictionary 
  3. Verb Tenses – Center for Academic Success | University of Illinois Springfield