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[tem-per-uh ns, tem-pruh ns] /ˈtɛm pər əns, ˈtɛm prəns/
moderation or self-restraint in action, statement, etc.; self-control.
habitual moderation in the indulgence of a natural appetite or passion, especially in the use of alcoholic liquors.
total abstinence from alcoholic liquors.
Origin of temperance
1200-50; Middle English temperaunce < Anglo-French < Latin temperantia self-control. See temper, -ance
Related forms
antitemperance, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for temperance


restraint or moderation, esp in yielding to one's appetites or desires
abstinence from alcoholic drink
Word Origin
C14: from Latin temperantia, from temperāre to regulate
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 temperance

mid-14c., "self-restraint, moderation," from Anglo-French temperaunce (mid-13c.), from Latin temperantia "moderation," from temperans, present participle of temperare "to moderate" (see temper). Latin temperantia was used by Cicero to translate Greek sophrosyne "moderation." In English, temperance was used to render Latin continentia or abstinentia, specifically in reference to drinking alcohol and eating; hence by early 1800s it came to mean "abstinence from alcoholic drink."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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temperance in Medicine

temperance tem·per·ance (těm'pər-əns, těm'prəns)

  1. Moderation and self-restraint, as in behavior or expression.

  2. Restraint in the use of or abstinence from alcoholic liquors.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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