Definition of temperance
1 : moderation in action, thought, or feeling : restraint
2a : habitual moderation in the indulgence of the appetites or passionsb : moderation in or abstinence from the use of alcoholic beverages
Examples of temperance in a Sentence
The minister preached about temperance.
my father attributes his ripe old age to temperance in all things, especially eating and drinking
Recent Examples of temperance from the Web
Dow led the temperance movement in Maine, records the New England Historical Society.
The bar becomes an altar on Sundays, but there’s no preacher, so the schoolmarm provides temperance lectures from it, which the men are obliged to attend.
Still, its reappearance represented the end of Mr. Duterte’s brief venture into linguistic temperance.
After an early life devoted to alcohol, Platt Rogers Spencer, born in 1810, discovered the vice of temperance.
The subtext in this town has always been temperance.
In the United States, a wide range of groups, from Whig Party offshoots to late-19th-century temperance leagues, claimed the slogan to various ends.
The same temperance is evident also in Uruguay’s relationship with religion.
Religious fervor, aided by the introduction of public water-filtration systems, helped galvanize the temperance movement, which culminated in 1920 with Prohibition.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'temperance'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Since temperance means basically "moderation", you might assume that, with respect to alcohol, temperance would mean moderate consumption, or "social drinking". Instead, the word has usually meant the prohibition of all alcohol. To temperance leaders such as Carry Nation, the safest form of drinking was no alcohol at all. Believing she was upholding the law, Nation began her hatchet-swinging attacks on saloons, known as "hatchetations", in the 1890s. National prohibition did eventually come—and go—but largely through the efforts of more temperate (that is, moderate) reformers.
Origin and Etymology of temperance
Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin temperantia, from temperant-, temperans, present participle of temperare to moderate, be moderate
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
TEMPERANCE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of temperance for English Language Learners
: the practice of drinking little or no alcohol
: the practice of always controlling your actions, thoughts, or feelings so that you do not eat or drink too much, become too angry, etc.
TEMPERANCE Defined for Kids
Definition of temperance for Students
1 : control over actions, thoughts, or feelings
2 : the use of little or no liquor
Word Root of temperance
The Latin word temperāre, meaning “to make mild,” “to control,” or “to soften,” gives us the root temper. Words from the Latin temperāre have something to do with mildness or control. To temper is to soften or make something less strong or difficult. Someone temperamental has little control over her or his mood and reactions to people and events. Temperature, or the degree of hotness or coldness, tells whether something is mild, too hot, or too cold.
Medical Definition of temperance
: habitual moderation in the indulgence of the appetites or passions; specifically : moderation in or abstinence from the use of alcoholic beverages
Seen and Heard
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