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Pocket Fowler's Modern English Usage
Robert AllenRobert Allen


is now limited to two main meanings, and has lost many others over seven centuries of use along with several redundant inflections, including abode. The principal meaning ‘to bear, tolerate’ is now only used in negative contexts, usually with a modal auxiliary verb

(Those ordinary Aryan Australian girls whose coarse complexions and lumpy features he could not abide—H. Jacobsen, 1986).

Its other main meaning in current use is with by, meaning ‘to stand firm by’ (We must abide by our decision). In its other meanings, it tends to be used mostly in the present tense, most famously as an imperative in a hymn

(Abide with me; fast falls the eventide—H. F. Lyte, 19c)

, or as a participial adjective

(I accept this award with an abiding faith in America—Martin Luther King, 1964, accepting the Nobel Peace Prize).