abstinence

noun
ab·​sti·​nence | \ ˈab-stə-nən(t)s How to pronounce abstinence (audio) \

Definition of abstinence

1 : the practice of abstaining from something : the practice of not doing or having something that is wanted or enjoyable … ate with a haste and an apparent relish, that seemed to betoken long abstinence from food.— Walter Scott
2a : habitual abstaining from intoxicating beverages
b : abstention from sexual intercourse

Other Words from abstinence

abstinent \ ˈab-​stə-​nənt How to pronounce abstinence (audio) \ adjective
abstinently adverb

Examples of abstinence in a Sentence

The program promoted sexual abstinence for young people. a cleric vainly preaching abstinence in a world where self-indulgence is regarded as almost a virtue
Recent Examples on the Web If the findings are concerning for myocarditis, the ACC recommends abstinence from exercise for three to six months. Dr. Nicholas P. Kondoleon, ABC News, 16 Mar. 2022 Instead of pushing abstinence, the approach aims to lower the risk of dying or acquiring infectious diseases by offering sterile equipment — through needle exchanges, for example — or tools to check drugs for the presence of fentanyl. BostonGlobe.com, 11 May 2022 Instead of pushing abstinence, the approach aims to lower the risk of dying or acquiring infectious diseases by offering sterile equipment — through needle exchanges, for example — or tools to check drugs for the presence of fentanyl. New York Times, 11 May 2022 In 1988, the litmus tests included abstinence and prayer in school. M.l. Elrick, Detroit Free Press, 24 Apr. 2022 Varakin has three rules for his snipers: abstinence from alcohol, dedication to service above all else and a willingness to do anything to achieve high performance. Washington Post, 5 Mar. 2022 Gaudenzia began offering outpatient treatment and started programs for patients being treated with medications such as methadone and buprenorphine, while reducing the use of live-in, abstinence-only programs. Phil Davis, baltimoresun.com, 20 Sep. 2021 Some proponents of temperance required that churchgoers keep pledges of abstinence, on pain of damnation. Virginia Heffernan, Wired, 19 Apr. 2022 According to USA Today, fasting — which includes abstinence from liquids, food and more — helps Muslims practice self-restraint and is a pillar of Islam. Natasha Dye, PEOPLE.com, 13 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abstinence.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of abstinence

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for abstinence

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin abstinentia, noun derivative of abstinent-, abstinens, present participle of abstinēre "to abstain"

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Time Traveler for abstinence

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The first known use of abstinence was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near abstinence

abstersive

abstinence

abstinence syndrome

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Statistics for abstinence

Last Updated

11 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Abstinence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abstinence. Accessed 6 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for abstinence

abstinence

noun
ab·​sti·​nence | \ ˈab-stə-nəns How to pronounce abstinence (audio) \

Kids Definition of abstinence

: an avoidance by choice especially of certain foods or of liquor

abstinence

noun
ab·​sti·​nence | \ ˈab-stə-nən(t)s How to pronounce abstinence (audio) \

Medical Definition of abstinence

: the act or practice of abstaining especially from engagement in sexual intercourse or consumption of intoxicating beverages

Other Words from abstinence

abstinent \ -​nənt How to pronounce abstinence (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on abstinence

Nglish: Translation of abstinence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abstinence for Arabic Speakers

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