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Anglo-French, from Old French abaer to expect, await, literally, to gape, from a- + baer to gape, yawn


  • 1 : a lapse in succession during which there is no person in whom a title is vested
  • 2 : temporary inactivity : suspension


Abeyance, (from the Old French abeance meaning "gaping"), is a state of expectancy in respect of property, titles or office, when the right to them is not vested in any one person, but awaits the appearance or determination of the true owner. In law, the term abeyance can only be applied to such future estates as have not yet vested or possibly may not vest. For example, an estate is granted to A for life, with remainder to the heir of B. During B's lifetime, the remainder is in abeyance, for until the death of B it is uncertain who his heir is. Similarly the freehold of a benefice, on the death of the incumbent, is said to be in abeyance until the next incumbent takes possession.