AskDefine | Define resignation

Dictionary Definition



1 acceptance of despair [syn: surrender]
2 the act of giving up (a claim or office or possession etc.)
3 a formal document giving notice of your intention to resign; "he submitted his resignation as of next month"

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. the act of resigning
  2. a written or oral declaration that one resigns
  3. state of uncomplaining, utter frustration


act of resigning
declaration that one resigns
state of uncomplaining frustration

Extensive Definition

A resignation is the formal act of giving up or quitting one's office or position. It can also refer to the act of admitting defeat in a game like chess, indicated by the resigning player turning his king on its side. A resignation can occur when a person holding a position gained by election or appointment steps down, but leaving a position upon the expiration of a term is not considered resignation. When an employee chooses to leave a position it is considered a resignation, as opposed to termination, which occurs when the employee involuntarily loses a job. Whether an employee resigned or was terminated is sometimes a topic of dispute, because in many situations a terminated employee is eligible for severance pay and/or unemployment benefits, whereas one who voluntarily resigns may not be eligible. Abdication is the equivalent of resignation of a reigning monarch or pope, or other holder of a non-political, hereditary or similar position.
A resignation is a personal decision to exit a position, though outside pressure exists in many cases. For example, Richard Nixon resigned from the office of President of the United States in 1974 following the Watergate scandal, when he was almost certain to have been impeached by the United States Congress.
Resignation can be used politically, as in the Philippines during July 2005 when ten cabinet officials resigned in order to put pressure on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to do the same over allegations of electoral fraud. Alternatively, resignation as a procedure may be used as a political manoeuvre. In 1995, the British Prime Minister, John Major, resigned as Leader of the Conservative Party in order to contest a leadership election with the aim of silencing his critics within the party and reasserting his authority. Having resigned, he stood again and was re-elected.
Although government officials may tender their resignations, they are not always accepted. This could be a gesture of confidence in the official, as with US President George W. Bush's refusal of his Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's twice-offered resignation during the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal. However, refusing a resignation can be a method of severe censure if it is followed by dismissal; Alberto Fujimori attempted to resign as President of Peru but his resignation was refused in order that Congress could fire him.
For many public figures, primarily departing politicians, resignation is an opportunity to deliver a valedictory resignation speech in which they can elucidate the circumstances of their exit from office and in many cases deliver a powerful speech which often commands much attention. This can be used to great political effect, particularly as, subsequent to resigning, government ministers are no longer bound by collective responsibility and can speak with greater freedom about current issues.

List of notable resignations

Prior to 2000











resignation in German: Resignation
resignation in French: Démission
resignation in Italian: Dimissioni
resignation in Japanese: 投了
resignation in Chinese: 辭職

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Quakerism, abandonment, abdication, abeyance, abjuration, abjurement, acceptance, acclimation, acclimatization, acedia, acquiescence, adaptation, adjustment, aloofness, amenability, apathy, assent, ataraxia, ataraxy, benumbedness, blah, blahs, capitulation, cessation, cession, cold storage, comatoseness, comfort, complaisance, compliance, composure, conformity, consent, content, contentedness, contentment, deference, desistance, detachment, discontinuance, disinterest, dispassion, dispensation, disposal, disposition, dropping out, dullness, dumping, ease, entire satisfaction, euphoria, forbearance, forgoing, forswearing, fulfillment, getting rid of, giving up, handing over, happiness, heartlessness, hebetude, homage, hopelessness, humbleness, humility, inappetence, indifference, insouciance, kneeling, lack of appetite, languidness, lethargicalness, lethargy, letting go, listlessness, long-suffering, longanimity, lowliness, meekness, modesty, nonchalance, nonexercise, nonopposal, nonopposition, nonresistance, nonviolent resistance, notice, numbness, obedience, obeisance, passive resistance, passiveness, passivity, patientness, peace of mind, phlegm, phlegmaticalness, phlegmaticness, plucklessness, quietism, recantation, reconcilement, reconciliation, release, relinquishment, renouncement, renunciation, resignedness, retraction, riddance, sacrifice, satisfaction, sloth, sluggishness, sopor, soporifousness, spiritlessness, spunklessness, stupefaction, stupor, subjection, submission, submissiveness, submittal, supineness, surrender, suspension, swearing off, torpidity, torpidness, torpor, uncomplainingness, unconcern, waiver, well-being, withdrawing, withdrawnness, yielding
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