verb (used without object)

  1. to give up an office or position, often formally (often followed by from): to resign from the presidency.
  2. to submit; yield: to resign before the inevitable.

verb (used with object)

  1. to give up (an office, position, etc.), often formally.
  2. to relinquish (a right, claim, agreement, etc.).
  3. to give or sign over, as to the control or care of another: She resigned her child to an adoption agency.
  4. to submit (oneself, one’s mind, etc.) without resistance.


  1. (when intr , often foll by from) to give up tenure of (a job, office, etc)
  2. (tr) to reconcile (oneself) to; yieldto resign oneself to death
  3. (tr) to give up (a right, claim, etc); relinquishhe resigned his claim to the throne

late 14c., “give up, surrender, abandon, submit; relinquish,” from Old French resigner “renounce, relinquish” (13c.), from Latin resignare “to check off, annul, cancel, give back, give up,” from re- “opposite” (see re-) + signare “to make an entry in an account book,” literally “to mark” (see sign (v.)).

The sense is of making an entry (signum) “opposite” — on the credit side — balancing the former mark and thus canceling the claim it represents. The specific meaning of “give up a position” is first recorded late 14c. Sense of “to give (oneself) up to some emotion or situation” is from 1718. Related: Resigned; resigning.

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