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noun tem·per·ance \ˈtem-p(ə-)rən(t)s, -pərn(t)s\

Simple Definition of temperance

  • : the practice of drinking little or no alcohol

  • : the practice of always controlling your actions, thoughts, or feelings so that you do not eat or drink too much, become too angry, etc.

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of temperance

  1. 1 :  moderation in action, thought, or feeling :  restraint

  2. 2a :  habitual moderation in the indulgence of the appetites or passionsb :  moderation in or abstinence from the use of alcoholic beverages

Examples of temperance in a sentence

  1. The minister preached about temperance.

  2. <my father attributes his ripe old age to temperance in all things, especially eating and drinking>

Did You Know?

Since temperance means basically "moderation", you might assume that, with respect to alcohol, temperance would mean moderate consumption, or "social drinking". Instead, the word has usually meant the prohibition of all alcohol. To temperance leaders such as Carry Nation, the safest form of drinking was no alcohol at all. Believing she was upholding the law, Nation began her hatchet-swinging attacks on saloons, known as "hatchetations", in the 1890s. National prohibition did eventually come—and go—but largely through the efforts of more temperate (that is, moderate) reformers.

Origin and Etymology of temperance

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin temperantia, from temperant-, temperans, present participle of temperare to moderate, be moderate

First Known Use: 14th century

TEMPERANCE Defined for Kids


noun tem·per·ance \ˈtem-pə-rəns, -prəns\

Definition of temperance for Students

  1. 1 :  control over actions, thoughts, or feelings

  2. 2 :  the use of little or no liquor

Word Root of temperance

The Latin word temperāre, meaning “to make mild,” “to control,” or “to soften,” gives us the root temper. Words from the Latin temperāre have something to do with mildness or control. To temper is to soften or make something less strong or difficult. Someone temperamental has little control over her or his mood and reactions to people and events. Temperature, or the degree of hotness or coldness, tells whether something is mild, too hot, or too cold.

Medical Dictionary


noun tem·per·ance \ˈtem-p(ə-)rən(t)s, -pərn(t)s\

Medical Definition of temperance

  1. :  habitual moderation in the indulgence of the appetites or passions; specifically :  moderation in or abstinence from the use of alcoholic beverages

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