I. noun — [ mass noun] 1. a state of temporary disuse or suspension • matters were held in abeyance pending further enquiries.
[Law] the position of being without, or of waiting for, an owner or claimant.
II. derivatives abeyant adjective
– origin late 16th cent. (in the legal sense): from Old French abeance ‘aspiration to a title’, from abeer ‘aspire after’, from a- ‘towards’ + beer ‘to gape’.