ab·ject (ăbjĕkt′, ăb-jĕkt)
1. Extremely contemptible or degrading: abject cowardice. See Synonyms at base2.
2. Being of the most miserable kind; wretched: abject poverty; abject grief.
3. Thoroughgoing; complete. Used to modify pejorative nouns: an abject failure.
4. Extremely submissive or self-abasing: abject apologies.
[Middle English, outcast, from Latin abiectus, past participle of abicere, to cast away : ab-, from; see AB-1 + iacere, to throw; see yē- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.