Definition of abstemious
: marked by restraint especially in the eating of food or drinking of alcohol an abstemious drinker; also : reflecting such restraint an abstemious diet
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Examples of abstemious in a sentence
She is known as an abstemious eater and drinker.
being abstemious diners, they avoid restaurants with all-you-can-eat buffets
Did You Know?
Abstemious and "abstain" look alike, and both have meanings involving self-restraint or self-denial. So they must both come from the same root, right? Yes and no. Both get their start from the Latin prefix abs-, meaning "from" or "away," but "abstain" traces to "abs-" plus the Latin verb tenēre (meaning "to hold"), while "abstemious" gets its "-temious" from a suffix akin to the Latin noun temetum, meaning "intoxicating drink."
Origin and Etymology of abstemious
borrowed from Latin abstēmius “refraining from wine, careful with one's means,” from abs- (variant of ab- ab- before c- and t-) + -tēmius, from a base tēm- “intoxicating” (also in tēmētum “intoxicating beverage,” tēmulentus “drunken”); if going back to an Indo-European root *temH-, akin to Sanskrit tāmyati “(he/she) is stunned, loses consciousness, is exhausted,” tamayati “(he/she) chokes (someone),” Armenian tcmrim “(he/she) is stunned” (perhaps going back to *tēēmiro-)
First Known Use: 1609
ABSTEMIOUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of abstemious for English Language Learners
: not eating and drinking too much
Seen and Heard
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