The act of giving up a right.It is a rule of law that any one may renounce a right which the law has established in his favor. To this maxim there are many limitations. A party may always renounce an acquired right; as, for example, to take lands by descent; but one cannot always give up a future right, before it has accrued, nor to the benefit conferred by law, although such advantage may be introduced only for the benefit of individuals.
For example, the power of making a will; the right of annulling a future contract, on the ground of fraud; and the right of pleading the act of limitations, cannot be renounced. The first, because the party must be left free to make a will or not; and the latter two, because the right has not yet accrued.
This term is usually employed to signify the abdication or giving up of one's country at the time of choosing another. The act of congress requires from a foreigner who applies to become naturalized a renunciation of all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, whereof such alien may, at the time, be a citizen or subject.