difference between adhere, respect, uphold and abide by

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Which one is more appropriate?

However, it should not be forgotten that preventive diplomacy has some golden rules and that there are some principles to adhere to/respect/uphold/ abide by no matter the nature of the dispute.

I think adhere to respect and uphold have the same meaining. However, abide by is mostly used in relation to court rulings.

Thanks in advance.
  • Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Adhere to and abide by are, in this particular sentence, synonymous. They mean to do what the rules say.
    It is possible to respect a principle without abiding by it (- I might respect the principle of vegetarianism in other people without following it myself).
    To uphold is to go further and not merely follow a rule but argue in its favour.
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