Abut Details

To abut means to touch, lean on, be next to, or have a common boundary with something. It commonly refers to an area of land or a building. Abut is the verb of the adjective abutting and noun abutment.

In the legal dictionary, the word abut specifically refers to two parcels of property touching each other. There is no land in between the parcels or at least only a very small inconsiderable distance.

Someone who owns property that abuts another is considered an abutter. Certain statutes may require abutters to pay proportional shares on the cost of street improvement projects. If a street or significant piece of land separates the properties, it wouldn't be considered abutting.

Real-World Example Of Using Abut

Zoning and land-use laws will also regulate whether one property can abut another. For example, the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance includes a regulation indicating that buildings can't abut certain principal arterial highways and railroad tracks.

The ordinance explains that properties must maintain a minimum distance from the Dulles International Airport Access Highway, and the combined Dulles International Airport Access Highway and Dulles Toll Road. All residential buildings must be at least 200 feet away and all commercial and industrial buildings at least 75 feet away.

The term abut is most commonly used to describe property and building situations, like when your property abuts someone else's land. You can also use the word abut when you cause something to touch or lean on another thing for support. For example, you can abut a ladder against the wall. Here are some additional examples of using abut in a sentence:

  • The cornfield abuts on the road.
  • The school will abut a nature preserve.
  • The edge of the property abutted the main road.
  • My sister's room abutted mine.

History Of The Word Abut

The word abut is derived from the Middle English term abutten, the Medieval Latin word abuttare, and the Old French words abuter, abother, and abouter. The French term has roots with the concept of joining something from one end to the other. The first known use of the word is in the 14th century when describing touching along a border or part of something.

Abut vs. Adjacent

Both the words abut and adjacent mean next to each other or against each other. However, the word abut generally implies closer proximity when compared to the use of the word adjacent.

Additionally, you can use the word adjacent when two things are not in contact with each other but have nothing significant between them. It is also a term describing one of the sides of a right triangle.

Abut vs. Abuttal

Abuttal is a noun that refers to the act of abutting. The key distinction between abut and abuttal is that abuttal specifically refers to pieces of land that abut another piece of land. In contrast, the term abut can be used for a wider variety of situations.

Abut vs. Adjoin

While these two verbs are commonly used interchangeably, there are some differences to be aware of. To abut is to meet up against or be next to and often refers to property or land. However, adjoin not only means to be next to but is often used when two things are joined together. Adjoin can also refer to a mathematical number theory.