Outright abandonment

HolyUnicorn

Senior Member
Mandarin / the Shanghai Dialect
Hello,

Above all, the laws of Puritan New England sought to defend the integrity of marriages. Divorce was exceedingly rare, and the authorities commonly ordered separated couples to reunite. Outright abandonment was among the very few permissible grounds for divorce.

The American Pageant by Thomas A. Bailey

How can I interpret “outright abandonment”? When you abandon someone, you either abandon them or not. Is there partial abandonment?
 
  • Peacenico

    Member
    English - United States
    Sure! Outright abandonment would be complete and total abandonment, i.e. one person completely leaves the other one.
    "partial abandonment" is probably not a real term, but "outright" implies that the person fully left, and wasn't just infrequently present.
    "Outright," in this case, means "unambiguous," and "complete."
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    If he left the state, that would qualify as outright abandonment. If he moved down the street and they saw each other now and then, that wouldn't be outright abandonment. The authorities could order them to reunite. They couldn't do that if he was nowhere to be found.
     
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