Literally, it imports the same with Abigeus, or as others write it, Abigevus, or Abigens ; form'd of Abigo, I drive away, q. d. a Driver of Cattle.
Technically, it is us'd to denote a Thief ; but with something particular in the manner of his Crime, to distinguish it from Furtum, or common Theft. 'Tis generally suppos'd to be one who steals, or drives off Cattel by Herds, or great Numbers : Thus Bracton, L. iii. c. 6. Si quis suem surripuit, fur erit ; & si quis gregem, Abigevus. See THEFT.
Others will have Abactors to be strictly those who drive off Cattel openly, and by main Force. In the former Sense, the Act of Abaction amounts to the Abigeat, and in the latter to the Rapina of the Civilians.
But the Distinction between Fur and Abactor has now no place among us.
So, among the antient Physicians, Abactus was us'd for a Miscarriage procur'd by Art, or sorce of Medicines ; in contradistinction to Aborsus, which is Natural. But the Moderns know no such distinction. See ABORTION.