Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


or abstinency

[ab-stuh-nuh ns or ab-stuh-nuh n-see] /ˈæb stə nəns or ˈæb stə nən si/
forbearance from any indulgence of appetite, especially from the use of alcoholic beverages:
total abstinence.
any self-restraint, self-denial, or forbearance.
Economics. the conserving of current income in order to build up capital or savings.
the state of being without a drug, as alcohol or heroin, on which one is dependent.
Origin of abstinence
First recorded in 1250-1300; Middle English word from Latin word abstinentia. See abstain, -ence
Related forms
abstinent, adjective
abstinently, adverb
proabstinence, adjective
Can be confused
abstention, abstinence.
1. abstemiousness, sobriety, teetotalism. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for abstinence
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Now that we have dined well, I would like to say aword on abstinence.

    Sir Brook Fossbrooke, Volume I. Charles James Lever
  • When abstinence is the only choice, an ascetic frame of mind comes easy.

    My Reminiscences Rabindranath Tagore
  • You will meet my abstinence by the only amends you can make to me.

  • It is abstinence from evil quite as much as eager realization of good.

    Strong Souls Charles Beard
  • The Ihrm must be put on, and the obligations of abstinence which it entails must be observed.

    The Faith of Islam Edward Sell
British Dictionary definitions for abstinence


the act or practice of refraining from some action or from the use of something, esp alcohol
(mainly RC Church) the practice of refraining from specific kinds of food or drink, esp from meat, as an act of penance
Derived Forms
abstinent, adjective
Word Origin
C13: via Old French from Latin abstinentia, from abstinēre to abstain
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for abstinence

mid-14c., "forbearance in indulgence of the appetites," from Old French abstinence (earlier astenance), from Latin abstinentia, noun of quality from abstinentem (nominative abstinens), present participle of abstinere (see abstain). Specifically of sexual appetites from mid-14c., but also in Middle English of food, fighting, luxury.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
abstinence in Medicine

abstinence ab·sti·nence (āb'stə-nəns)
The act or practice of refraining from indulgence in an appetite, as for certain foods, drink, alcoholic beverages, drugs, or sex.

ab'sti·nent adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for abstinence

Word Value for abstinence

Scrabble Words With Friends