abstention

noun

ab·​sten·​tion əb-ˈsten(t)-shən How to pronounce abstention (audio)
ab-
: the act or practice of abstaining: such as
a
: 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.
abstentious 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 on the Web The full Planning Commission took up the question last Friday, and then voted almost unanimously to deny both efforts, with three abstentions. Frederick Melo, Twin Cities, 19 May 2024 The world body approved the Arab and Palestinian-sponsored resolution by a vote of 143-9 with 25 abstentions. Edith M. Lederer, Fortune, 11 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for abstention 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'abstention.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of abstention was in 1521

Dictionary Entries Near abstention

Cite this Entry

“Abstention.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abstention. Accessed 30 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

abstention

noun
ab·​sten·​tion əb-ˈsten-chən How to pronounce abstention (audio)
ab-
: the act or practice of abstaining
especially : a formal refusal to vote
3 ayes, 5 nays, and 2 abstentions

Legal Definition

abstention

noun
ab·​sten·​tion əb-ˈsten-chən How to pronounce abstention (audio)
: 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

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
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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