to abet.

Abet means to incite, instigate, or encourage someone to act, often wrongfully. The word derives from the old command for a dog to "sic 'em" or "go get 'em," and owes it's life to to the "sport" of bearbaiting, which was as popular as cricket in 14th- and 15th-century England.

In bearbaiting, a recently trapped bear, starved to make it unnaturally vicious, was chained to a stake or put in a pit, and a pack of dogs was set loose upon it in a fight to the death, which the bear always lost, after inflicting great punishment on the dogs.

Spectators who urged the dogs on were said to abet them, abet here being the contraction of the Old French abeter, "to bait, to hound on," which in turn derived from the Norse beita, "to cause to bite."

A*bet" (#), v.t. [imp. & p.p. Abetted (#); & vb.n. Abetting.] [OF. abeter; a (L. ad) + beter to bait (as a bear), fr. Icel. beita to set dogs on, to feed, originally, to cause to bite, fr. Icel. bita to bite, hence to bait, to incite. See Bait, Bet.]


To instigate or encourage by aid or countenance; -- used in a bad sense of persons and acts; as, to abet an ill-doer; to abet one in his wicked courses; to abet vice; to abet an insurrection.

"The whole tribe abets the villany."


Would not the fool abet the stealth, Who rashly thus exposed his wealth? Gay.


To support, uphold, or aid; to maintain; -- in a good sense. [Obs.].

Our duty is urged, and our confidence abetted. Jer. Taylor.

3. Law

To contribute, as an assistant or instigator, to the commission of an offense.

Syn. -- To incite; instigate; set on; egg on; foment; advocate; countenance; encourage; second; uphold; aid; assist; support; sustain; back; connive at.


© Webster 1913.

A*bet" (#), n. [OF. abet, fr. abeter.]

Act of abetting; aid.




© Webster 1913.

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