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2017 Word of the Year

abstain

[ab-steyn] /æbˈsteɪn/
verb (used without object)
1.
to hold oneself back voluntarily, especially from something regarded as improper or unhealthy (usually followed by from):
to abstain from eating meat.
2.
to refrain from casting one's vote:
a referendum in which two delegates abstained.
Origin of abstain
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English abste(i)nen < Middle French abstenirLatin abstinēre, equivalent to abs- abs- + -tinēre, combining form of tenēre to hold, keep
Related forms
nonabstaining, adjective
overabstain, verb (used without object)
Synonyms
1. forbear; desist, cease.
Antonyms
1. indulge.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for abstained
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Lower Ranizais, south of Malakand, abstained altogether.

    The Story of the Malakand Field Force Sir Winston S. Churchill
  • He drank three cups of tea, but abstained from food entirely.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • But if they abstained from injuring one another, then they might act together better?

    The Republic Plato
  • Have we not heard of Iccus of Tarentum and other wrestlers who abstained wholly for a time?

    Laws Plato
  • However, we forgave each other, as we had abstained from the chief liberty.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
British Dictionary definitions for abstained

abstain

/əbˈsteɪn/
verb (intransitive) usually foll by from
1.
to choose to refrain: he abstained from alcohol
2.
to refrain from voting, esp in a committee, legislature, etc
Derived Forms
abstainer, noun
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Latin abstinēre, from abs-ab-1 + tenēre to hold, keep
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for abstained

abstain

v.

late 14c., "to withhold oneself," from Old French abstenir (14c.), earlier astenir (13c.) "hold (oneself) back, refrain, abstain (from), practice abstinence," from Latin abstinere "withhold, keep back, keep off," from ab(s)- "from, away from" (see ab-) + tenere "to hold" (see tenet). Specifically of liquor, attested from late 14c. Of voting, 1796. Related: Abstained; abstaining.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Word Value for abstained

12
14
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