Abet - archaic?

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Senior Member
Do any of you guys incorporate the verb "to abet" into your vocabulary?

Do you abet my plan?

I consider it pretty archaic, and I don't even know if I'm using it right. Is it used in the UK?
  • Cypherpunk

    Senior Member
    US, English
    The place I hear it most is when the police talk about 'aiding and abetting'. Other than that, I can't say I hear it very often (probably only as a joke among my better-educated friends).


    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    In a Google news search for abet in context, it is true that by far the most instances it is paired with aid, and the object is a criminal act.

    However, now and then abet appears alone, still in the sense of furthering a bad consequence, but not always a criminal act. Here is one example.
    Brothers who fed Tiger's cubs facing future of uncertainty
    Irish Times - ‎Jan 5, 2010‎
    But while the timing of Bang had been impeccable – opening just as the Celtic Tiger economy was taking off – the timing of Residence was to abet the club's downfall.
    Unfortunately, I was unable to find one instance in which something positive was abetted.


    Senior Member
    English English
    For me abet looks very sad on its own, without aid, though far from impossible. (Not nearly as impossible as, for example, the word let [= 'stoppage'] would be on its own, divorced from its partner hindrance in the legal jargon without let or hindrance.)


    Senior Member
    English - England
    The four ways in which you can be an accessory to a crime in English law are to aid, abet, counsel or procure it. Accessories do not strictly speaking commit the crime themselves, but are part of a joint enterprise that results in the crime, and are subject to the same penalties as the one who commits the crime.

    I think abet still has a separate place as a technical term in English law (and I presume in other common law jurisdictions too). According to the Oxford Reference Concise Dictionary of Law (Second Edition 1990), 'Aiding usually refers to material assistance (e.g. providing the tools for the crime), and abetting to lesser assistance (e.g. acting as a look-out or driving a car to the scene of the the crime)'.
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