Definition of abstention
- abstention from drugs and alcohol
- a long period of abstention [=abstinence]
- There were 10 ayes, 6 nays, and 2 abstentions.
There were 10 ayes, 6 nays, and 2 abstentions when the vote was taken.
a high rate of voter abstention
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abstention.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
What made you want to look up abstention? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!
Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.TAKE THE QUIZ
Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.TAKE THE QUIZ