2. A term that indicates that legal ownership of an estate has not been established: The abeyant nature of the settlement of Morgan's property left his daughter feeling insecure.
3. Etymology: in English, abeyance is a legal term used regarding rights which were suspended, "held in abeyance", awaiting a proper claimant. Its meaning, however, has broadened in general use to indicate any kind of suspension or temporary suppression.
Additional word information
When anything is abeyant it is referring to a state of inaction, that the matter, whatever it was before, is now dormant; although some action might be expected to occur eventually. It was that expectancy that gave us the word, because it came as a law term, from the Norman Conquest, from the Old French abeance "a state of expectancy".
The term referred; especially, to the condition of a property or title while, after the death of the former possessor, often by foul means in those days, his successor could be determined from among various claimants.
The Old French word was derived from the verb beer (modern bayer), "to gape, to expect", perhaps because of the gaping expectancy with which the settlement of an estate was awaited either by the rightful heir or by a hopeful usurper, none too certain that his claim would pass scrutiny.