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

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 But even with the delayed start, most healthy, neurotypical kids achieve at least daytime continence by age three. Leah Campbell, Forbes, 27 Sep. 2021 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, 7 Aug. 2020 This also means that patients experience higher rates of erectile-function recovery and a faster return to urinary continence. WSJ, 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, 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, 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.

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

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

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Cite this Entry

“Continence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jul. 2022.

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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

Nglish: Translation of continence for Spanish Speakers


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