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Abandon vs Desert vs Forsake

Abandon, Desert and Forsake all mean to give up completely.

What’s the difference?

Abandon can suggest complete disinterest in the future of what is given up.

  • Her natural mother had abandoned her at an early age.

Desert implies a relationship (as of occupancy or guardianship). And it also suggests desolation or culpability.

  • He deserted his wife and family for another woman.
  • The villages had been deserted.
  • Soldiers who deserted and were caught were shot.

Forsake implies a breaking of a close association by repudiation or renunciation.

  • He decided to forsake politics for journalism.