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 beveragesb : abstention from sexual intercourse
abstinentplay \-nənt\ adjective
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 of abstinence from the Web
By the end of college, Adam was trying to manage his gaming but still fell into a pattern of bingeing, abstinence and relapse.
With his 50th birthday looming, party-hearty Mickey was suffering chest pains and considering abstinence.
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.
Origin and Etymology of abstinence
Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin abstinentia, noun derivative of abstinent-, abstinens, present participle of abstinēre “to abstain”
First Known Use: 13th century
ABSTINENCE Defined for Kids
Definition of abstinence for Students
: an avoidance by choice especially of certain foods or of liquor
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