Was this a saying before it was in the Tom Petty song? Any historical examples of it being used before the song?
It means some people like to play the victim. They feed off of situations that will get them sympathy-…such as being abandoned
You have to take it in the context of the song:
“Somewhere, somehow, somebody must have kicked you around some
Tell me why you want to lay there, revel in your abandon
Horny, it don’t make no difference to me baby
Everybody has to fight to be free, you see”
Really, the character that the narrator is singing to has been “kicked around some” until she (Im saying she as Petty is a male) seems to have given up all hope.
The dictionary meaning of revel is “take delight in and make the most of” but Ive got a feeling that its not exactly meant that way (after all, Petty wrote the lyrics in 15 minutes and I doubt he used a dictionary). Personally I think he meant it as “wallow in your misery” but obviously that sounds terrible in the song. This is just my opinion though.
And for the historical thing — Ive only heard it used in context of the song.
It means taking pleasure without constraints
in this context “abandon”means to let oneself go, to free self of restraint. To do something with a carefree attitude without self moderation. To revel in your abandon would be to enjoy it, take delight in it while you can.
Abandon, in this case, refers to one’s inhibitions. In other words, abandon your restraints and revel (have fun) being uninhibited. In short, it means “have fun having fun”.