abstain

[ ab-steyn ]
/ æbˈsteɪn /

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.

Origin of abstain

1350–1400; Middle English abste(i)nen < Middle French abstenirLatin abstinēre, equivalent to abs- abs- + -tinēre, combining form of tenēre to hold, keep
Related formsnon·ab·stain·ing, adjectiveo·ver·ab·stain, verb (used without object)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for abstaining

British Dictionary definitions for abstaining

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 Formsabstainer, 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

Word Origin and History for abstaining

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