Dictionary.com

abstain

[ ab-steyn ]
/ æbˈsteɪn /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: abstain / abstaining on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object)

to hold oneself back voluntarily, especially from something regarded as improper or unhealthy (usually followed by from): to abstain from eating meat.
to refrain from casting one's vote: a referendum in which two delegates abstained.

QUIZZES

THINK YOU’VE GOT A HANDLE ON THIS US STATE NICKNAME QUIZ?

Did you ever collect all those state quarters? Put them to good use on this quiz about curious state monikers and the facts around them.
Question 1 of 8
Mississippi’s nickname comes from the magnificent trees that grow there. What is it?

Origin of abstain

1350–1400; Middle English abste(i)nen<Middle French abstenir ≪ Latin abstinēre, equivalent to abs-abs- + -tinēre, combining form of tenēre to hold, keep

OTHER WORDS FROM abstain

non·ab·stain·ing, adjectiveo·ver·ab·stain, verb (used without object)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for abstain

British Dictionary definitions for abstain

abstain
/ (əbˈsteɪn) /

verb (intr usually foll by from)

to choose to refrainhe abstained from alcohol
to refrain from voting, esp in a committee, legislature, etc

Derived forms of abstain

abstainer, noun

Word Origin for abstain

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
See Today's Synonym