The words “abomination,” “abominable,” and “abominably” are used in the Authorized Version in translating eight Hebrew words and four Greek words. Later translations are usually more specific in rendering the original words, and this is helpful since the word “abomination” is rather broad in meaning and is drifting into disuse in everyday speech.
The words most frequently translated as “abomination” or “abominable” in the Authorized Version are ta·ʽavʹ and toh·ʽe·vahʹ. These are considered under the heading DETESTABLE THING.
The Hebrew word ba·ʼashʹ is translated once as “abomination” in the Authorized Version at 1 Samuel 13:4. It there describes the effect of Saul’s attack on the Philistines, and the Authorized Version says that the Israelites were “had in abomination with the Philistines.” Other translations use the words “odious” (RS), “bad odor” (AT), or “foul-smelling’’ (NW), and the marginal reading in the Authorized Version says “did stink.” This is more in harmony with the basic meaning of ba·ʼashʹ, which literally means “to stink,” though it is often used in a metaphorical sense, as in the above text, to indicate that one has become odious to another or others because of his actions.—Gen. 34:30; Ex. 5:21; 1 Sam. 27:12; 2 Sam. 10:6; 16:21; 1 Chron. 19:6; for its literal usage, see Exodus 7:18, 21; 8:14; 16:20-24; Psalm 38:5; Ecclesiastes 10:1; Isaiah 50:2.
In the Authorized Version the word za·ʽamʹ is also translated just once as “abominable” at Micah 6:10, but the Revised Standard Version here has “accursed.” It literally means “to foam” and is used in Hebrew to mean “to be angry, indignant; to curse.” In other texts the Authorized Version translates it with “abhor,” “abhorred,” “be angry with,” “curse,” and “indignation.” In the New World Translation za·ʽamʹ is uniformly translated with the words “denounce,” “denounced,” and “denunciation(s).”—Num. 23:7, 8; Ps. 7:11; Prov. 22:14; 24:24; 25:23; Isa. 66:14; Dan. 11:30; Zech. 1:12; Mal. 1:4.
Pig·gulʹ occurs only four times in the Hebrew Scriptures and is regularly translated in the Authorized Version as “abomination” or “abominable,” but it has the basic meaning of “impure,” “fetid,” or “foul.” At Leviticus 7:18 and 19:7 pig·gulʹ is used to describe the meat of a sacrificial offering that was left after three days from the time of its being offered. The Authorized Version says the Israelites were instructed by God to consider such flesh as an “abomination,” but An American Translation here uses the word “refuse,” and the New World Translation says “a foul thing.”—See also Isaiah 65:4 and Ezekiel 4:14.
The three related Hebrew words sha·qatsʹ, sheʹqets and shiq·qutsʹ, generally translated “abomination(s)” or “abominable” in the Authorized Version, basically refer to that which is “disgusting” and are considered under the heading DISGUSTING THING.
In the Greek Scriptures the word a·theʹmi·tos is translated “abominable” at 1 Peter 4:3 in the Authorized Version but is correctly rendered “lawless” in the Revised Standard Version and “illegal” in the New World Translation.—Compare its use at Acts 10:28.
The related words bde·lysʹso, bdeʹlyg·ma and bde·ly·ktosʹ come from a Greek word meaning “to stink,” and imply “disgust.” The word bdeʹlyg·ma is used in the expression “abomination [bdeʹlyg·ma] of desolation.” (Matt. 24:15, AV) This word is also dealt with under the heading DISGUSTING THING.