or ab·sti·nen·cy

[ ab-stuh-nuhns or ab-stuh-nuhn-see ]
/ ˈæb stə nəns or ˈæb stə nən si /

WATCH NOW: What Does "Abstinence" Mean For You?

WATCH NOW: What Does "Abstinence" Mean For You?

"Abstinence" is so very often about personal choices. That's why we should also try to abstain from judgment.



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

ab·sti·nent, adjectiveab·sti·nent·ly, adverbpro·ab·sti·nence, adjective

Can be confused

abstention abstinence
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for abstinence

British Dictionary definitions for abstinence


/ (ˈæbstɪnəns) /


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 for abstinence

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

Medicine definitions for abstinence


[ ăbstə-nəns ]


The act or practice of refraining from indulgence in an appetite, as for certain foods, drink, alcoholic beverages, drugs, or sex.

Related forms

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