con·​ti·​nence | \ ˈkän-tə-nən(t)s How to pronounce continence (audio) \

Definition of continence

1 : the ability to retain a bodily discharge voluntarily fecal continence
2 : self-restraint especially : a refraining from sexual intercourse

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of continence in a Sentence

argued for a pregnancy-prevention program that did not put so much faith in the continence of teenagers experiencing a moment of unusual continence, I refrained from returning her gratuitous insult
Recent Examples on the Web Share prices have soared for large Danish health companies such as Coloplast — a major player in the market for colostomy pouches, continence and skin and wound care treatments — and Genmab, a biotech company specializing in cancer treatments. Matt Phillips, New York Times, "Investors Cozy Up to Danish Stocks," 7 Aug. 2020 This also means that patients experience higher rates of erectile-function recovery and a faster return to urinary continence. WSJ, "Is Robotic Prostate Surgery Better Than Traditional Surgery?," 24 June 2018 Charging by service can include extra fees for help with bathing or showering, dressing, grooming or managing continence. Cassie Cope And Fred Clasen-kelly, charlotteobserver, "Her sick mom's care was costing her thousands and they 'didn't even give you sheets'," 31 May 2018 Although nearly everyone thinks happiness declines with age—along with our posture, continence and memory—the truth is more interesting. Emily Bobrow, WSJ, "‘The Happiness Curve’ Review: Midlife Slump and Late-Life Upswing," 31 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of continence

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for continence

Middle English contynence, contenence "moderation, restraint, abstinence (from sexual intercourse)," borrowed from Anglo-French continence, borrowed from Medieval Latin continentia, going back to Latin, "restraint, self-control," derivative of continent-, continens "restrained, not indulging in excesses" — more at continent entry 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about continence

Time Traveler for continence

Time Traveler

The first known use of continence was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for continence

Cite this Entry

“Continence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for continence


con·​ti·​nence | \ ˈkänt-ᵊn-ən(t)s How to pronounce continence (audio) \

Medical Definition of continence

1 : self-restraint in refraining from sexual intercourse
2 : the ability to retain a bodily discharge voluntarily fecal continence

More from Merriam-Webster on continence

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for continence

Nglish: Translation of continence for Spanish Speakers

Comments on continence

What made you want to look up continence? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!