abstention

noun
ab·​sten·​tion | \ əb-ˈsten(t)-shən How to pronounce abstention (audio) , ab-\

Definition of abstention

: 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.

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Other Words from abstention

abstentious \ -​shəs How to pronounce abstentious (audio) \ 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 Sandinistas won 67 percent of the vote in a six-party race, with some 25 percent abstentions, many from Christian evangelicals. Jeffrey L. Gould, The New Republic, "Making Sense of Bernie’s Sandinista Sympathies," 6 June 2019 The European Parliament voted 348-274 to pass the online copyright bill, with 36 abstentions. Raf Casert, The Seattle Times, "EU parliament backs copyright bill targeting US tech giants," 27 Mar. 2019 Come to think of it, there is no safe level of living, but nobody would recommend abstention. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "There’s no risk-free amount of alcohol, population-level study finds," 27 Aug. 2018 The Senate passed Bill C-45 by a vote of 52 to 29 with two abstentions, lifting a prohibition on the recreational use of marijuana that has been in place since 1923. Amanda Coletta, Washington Post, "Canada’s Senate votes to legalize marijuana," 19 June 2018 But he was defeated by a 125-112 margin, with two abstentions. Geir Moulson, Fox News, "Merkel's party ousts close ally of chancellor from top post," 25 Sep. 2018 However, accounting for boycott abstentions and the ability of Maduro’s food subsidies to capture opposition voters, Maduro instead becomes likely to win. Stephen Kaplan, Washington Post, "Will Sunday’s elections bring economic relief and reform to Venezuela?," 17 May 2018 The Human Rights Council, in a measure brought by Western countries, voted 21-8 with 18 abstentions. Jamey Keaten, Fox News, "UN rights body renews experts' probe of Yemen crimes," 28 Sep. 2018 The resolution passed by a wide margin of 156 votes to six against and 12 abstentions. Farnaz Fassihi, WSJ, "U.S. Resolution Against Hamas Is Defeated in the United Nations," 6 Dec. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of abstention

1521, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for abstention

borrowed from Late Latin abstentiōn-, abstentiō, from Latin absten-, variant stem of abstinēre "to abstain" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of action nouns

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Statistics for abstention

Last Updated

30 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for abstention

The first known use of abstention was in 1521

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More Definitions for abstention

abstention

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

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

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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More from Merriam-Webster on abstention

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with abstention

Spanish Central: Translation of abstention

Nglish: Translation of abstention for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abstention for Arabic Speakers

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