[ tee-toht-l, tee-toht-l ]
/ tiˈtoʊt l, ˈtiˌtoʊt l /
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See synonyms for: teetotal / teetotally on Thesaurus.com


of or relating to, advocating, or pledged to total abstinence from intoxicating drink.
Informal. absolute; complete.

verb (used without object), tee·to·taled, tee·to·tal·ing or (especially British) tee·to·talled, tee·to·tal·ling.

to practice teetotalism.



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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Origin of teetotal

Reduplicated variant of total, coined by R. Turner, of Preston, England, in 1833, in a speech advocating total abstinence from alcoholic drinks


tee·to·tal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for teetotal

  • Take my word for it, but old Johnsen was a bit sore that night; and wishing he'd never gone in for teetotalling!

    Dry Fish and Wet|Anthon Bernhard Elias Nilsen
  • Come to the smoking room, and let's see what you can do after teetotalling for a year.

    The Philanderer|George Bernard Shaw

British Dictionary definitions for teetotal

/ (tiːˈtəʊtəl) /


of, relating to, or practising abstinence from alcoholic drink
dialect complete

Derived forms of teetotal

teetotaller, nounteetotally, adverbteetotalism, noun

Word Origin for teetotal

C19: allegedly coined in 1833 by Richard Turner, English advocate of total abstinence from alcoholic liquors; probably from total, with emphatic reduplication
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