abandon / forsake / desert


Arabic / Bahrain
I'm puzzled ! Is there any difference between these three words ( abandon , forsake , desert ) ? which I know is that they mean to leave someone or something completely , so I suggest that the difference might be in the intention of doing this action !! Am I right ?

Thanks in advance.
  • mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    Not really. They all mean pretty much the same thing.

    Forsake is rarely a part of ordinary communication anymore but it still shows up: "forsaking all others" is a standard part of a marriage ceremony.

    There are set phrases of course:

    you abandon a baby, but you desert your family.

    Oddly, if your boyfriend leaves you, you might feel 'abandoned,' or 'deserted' or even 'foresaken," but you wouldn't say 'my boyfriend abandoned me," or "deserted me" and definitely not "foresook me."

    So I suppose all three imply a legally established bond has been broken, and not just a 'connection.'

    Wow, now you're probably more confused than before, right?


    New Member
    English - USA
    abandon - to give up with the intent of never claiming again
    forsake - to give up (something formerly held dear)
    desert - to withdraw from, especially in spite of a responsibility or duty

    Slight differences in emphasis. Abandon stresses leaving something behind. Forsake stresses that you are giving up something you once valued. Desert stresses that you are are leaving something that you shouldn't - that you are being negligent.

    Crawford Powell

    Senior Member
    Native Arabic speaker from "Egypt"
    <-----Threads have been merged at this point by moderator (Florentia52)----->

    -Would "abandon" work in place of "forsake" and would there be any difference?

    • Matthew 27:46 King James Version (KJV)
      And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me
    Last edited by a moderator:
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