Definition of abstention
: the act or practice of abstaining: such asa : the act or practice of choosing not to do or have something abstention from drugs and alcohol a long period of abstention [=abstinence]b : a formal refusal to vote on something There were 10 ayes, 6 nays, and 2 abstentions.
abstentiousplay \-shəs\ adjective
Examples of abstention in a Sentence
There were 10 ayes, 6 nays, and 2 abstentions when the vote was taken.
a high rate of voter abstention
Recent Examples of abstention from the Web
The bill passed the Senate 24-0 and the House 102-0 with one abstention.
Commissioners voted 4-0 in support of the project with two abstentions following a lengthy critique of the company's paperwork and unsuccessful attempt in Northbrook.
Board President Ken Junkins said board members voted 8-0 in favor of revoking the charter, with one 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.
Origin and Etymology of abstention
borrowed from Late Latin abstentiōn-, abstentiō, from Latin absten-, variant stem of abstinēre “to abstain” + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of action nouns
First Known Use: 1521
Legal Definition of abstention
: the staying of the exercise of federal jurisdiction in a case that involves a question of state law or policy which the federal court prefers to have resolved by a state court or agency; also : the staying of the exercise of federal jurisdiction in a case that involves a proceeding in a court of military justice Burford abstention \ˈbər-fərd-\ : an abstention grounded on the involvement in the federal case of a challenge to the exercise of a usually complex state administrative function Colorado River abstention \ˌkä-lə-ˈra-dō-, -ˈrä-\ : an abstention grounded especially on the involvement in the federal case of questions of state concern that are also at issue in a parallel case in state court Pullman abstention \ˈpu̇l-mən-\ : an abstention grounded on the involvement in the federal case of the interpretation of an ambiguously worded state law whose constitutionality would have to be determined by the federal court Editor's note: A party to a case subjected to a Pullman abstention may reserve the right to return to federal court once the state court has resolved the state law question. Pullman abstentions are the most common type of abstention. Thibodaux abstention \ˌtē-bə-ˈdō-\ : an abstention grounded on the involvement in the federal case of an issue that greatly affects and concerns a state Younger abstention \ˈyəŋ-gər-\ : an abstention grounded on the plaintiff's invocation of federal jurisdiction for the purpose of restraining an ongoing usually criminal state proceeding that has been brought in good faith and not for harassment
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