[ab-sten-shuh n]


an act or instance of abstaining.
withholding of a vote.

Origin of abstention

1515–25; < Late Latin abstentiōn- (stem of abstentiō), equivalent to Latin abstent(us), past participle of abstinēre to abstain + -iōn- -ion
Related formsab·sten·tious, adjectivenon·ab·sten·tion, nounun·ab·sten·tious, adjective
Can be confusedabstention abstinence
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for abstentious



a voluntary decision not to act; the act of refraining or abstaining
the act of withholding one's vote
Derived Formsabstentious, adjective

Word Origin for abstention

C16: from Late Latin abstentiōn-, from Latin abstinēre. See 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

Word Origin and History for abstentious



1520s, from Middle French abstention (Old French astencion), from Late Latin abstentionem (nominative abstentio) "the act of retaining," noun of action from past participle stem of abstinere (see abstain).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper