Abaction has two definitions. In legal matters, it means that someone “carried away by force” large animals. If you steal a herd of cattle, you have committed abaction.
If you steal a Great Dane, you’re a thief, but to be an abactor you must steal a herd of large dogs. And this you cannot do since a large group of dogs is a pack, not a herd.
A group of cats, by the way, is a clowder. Good luck stealing a clowder of cats in the middle of the night without being heard.
Abaction is derived from the Latin word abigeus, or “cattle stealer.”
Related words include Abigeus (cattle stealer and synonym of abactor) and abactius (the stolen cattle).
Although Abagmentum has a similar etymology to abaction (both are derived from abago), it is not related to the stealing of cattle. Abagmentum is a “means for inducing an abortion.” The verb form is abigo.
Finally, abiga is a plant that can be used to induce an abortion. This flowering plant–also known as Yellow Bugle or Ajuga chamaepitys–was described in the writings of Greek and Roman herbalists. Because of the current controversy surrounding the issue of abortion, it is difficult to find scientific verification of this use and its effectiveness.
Check out our Infographics page for other unusual words, such as xertz and tittynope.