Abdicating is the act by which a king or prince renounces or generally relinquishes the right to sovereign title. Etymologically, the word comes from the Latin abdicāre.
In Roman Law, the term was used to refer to dispossessing or lowering a person of his condition, status, or of some right, faculty or power. Hence, abdication can also refer to giving up the rights or advantages that are possessed.
Thus, the action of a person to resign himself to a position, before the stipulated time for his exercise is fulfilled, implies an abdication. This is the case, for example, of kings, whose title has to be exercised until death.
For this reason, the word is currently used, above all, to refer to the act of a monarch abandoning the supreme power of a State. Synonyms, in this sense, would be to resign, yield, resign or separate.
Formerly, an abdication occurred in really serious circumstances, of political turmoil. Modernly, however, abdication has become relatively common in some monarchies, where older kings prefer to abdicate in favor of their successor to the throne. Such has been the case of King Juan Carlos de Borbón, in Spain, who in 2014 abdicated the throne in his son Felipe VI.
Abdicating, on the other hand, is also used figuratively to refer to the act of abandoning an idea or opinion that has been maintained or has long been insisted: “I abdicated my efforts to make you change your mind.” Synonyms of abdicating, in this sense, would be to resign, give up or abandon.