tee·​to·​tal·​er | \ ˈtē-ˈtō-tᵊl-ər How to pronounce teetotaler (audio) , -ˌtō- \
variants: or teetotaller

Definition of teetotaler

: one who practices or advocates teetotalism

Synonyms & Antonyms for teetotaler



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A person who abstains from alcohol might choose tea as his or her alternative beverage, but the word teetotaler has nothing to do with tea. More likely, the "tee" that begins the word teetotal is a reduplication of the letter "t" that begins total, emphasizing that one has pledged total abstinence. In the early 1800s, tee-total and tee-totally were used to intensify total and totally, much the way we now might say, "I'm tired with a capital T." "I am now … wholly, solely, and teetotally absorbed in Wayne's business," wrote the folklorist Parson Weems in an 1807 letter. Teetotal and teetotaler first appeared with their current meanings in 1834, eight years after the formation of the American Temperance Society.

Examples of teetotaler in a Sentence

in a quandary about what to serve for the wedding toast since his future in-laws are teetotalers
Recent Examples on the Web For the stylish teetotaler: Three Spirit, a line of non-alcoholic spirits made with functional plants, has been known to save the day—and maybe the morning after, too. Aleksandra Crapanzano, Bon Appétit, 22 Nov. 2021 Many barmen moved across the Atlantic, but Henry Ramos, already practically a teetotaler himself, didn’t fight it and closed up shop for good. Jason O'bryan, Robb Report, 4 Nov. 2021 On a surface level, the political atmospherics of legal weed have the potential to harm Republicans in 2022, including DeWine, a traditional Republican with a reputation as a teetotaler, who’s running for re-election next year. Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland, 13 Aug. 2021 Ambani is a strict vegetarian, teetotaler and an avid fan of Bollywood movies. Cnn Editorial Research, CNN, 23 July 2021 But from 1972 to 1996, with a couple of four-year furloughs to stoke up his improbable comebacks, Mr. Edwards was the undisputed king of Baton Rouge, a Scripture-quoting, nonsmoking teetotaler who once considered life as a preacher. New York Times, 12 July 2021 Or the fact that John D. Rockefeller Jr. was an absolute teetotaler. Kim Velsey, Curbed, 16 July 2021 There's more than free booze on offer from the teetotaler Biden and his web of private-sector partnerships announced on Wednesday to convince skeptics to get vaccinated. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 3 June 2021 The former president has frequently spoken of his pain at the way his brother Fred died from alcoholism at the age of 42 and is a lifetime teetotaler. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, 2 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'teetotaler.' 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 teetotaler

1834, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of teetotaler was in 1834

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Last Updated

14 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Teetotaler.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/teetotaler. Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for teetotaler



English Language Learners Definition of teetotaler

: someone who never drinks alcohol


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