temperance

noun
tem·per·ance | \ ˈtem-p(ə-)rən(t)s , -pərn(t)s \

Definition of temperance 

1 : moderation in action, thought, or feeling : restraint

2a : habitual moderation in the indulgence of the appetites or passions

b : moderation in or abstinence from the use of alcoholic beverages

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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.

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 on the Web

By 1910, when the leafy temperance town of Hollywood merged with its big sister to the east, the enlarged city’s population was over 300,000. Leo Braudy, New York Times, "Los Angeles as the City of Dreams, and Nightmares," 1 June 2018 Stoddard wrote scores of books and pamphlets about temperance and traveled to Europe between 1909 and 1926 to represent the United States in international anti-alcohol congresses. Stephanie Schorow, BostonGlobe.com, "What should marijuana opponents do when their cause fails? A lesson from Prohibition," 23 June 2018 After all, the Methodists were leaders in the temperance movement. Erik Lacitis, The Seattle Times, "‘All indulged’: Puget Sound’s wildest Fourth of July party was its first one — in 1841," 3 July 2018 However, sad to say, President Calvin Coolidge (himself an advocate of temperance, especially during Prohibition) allowed some chickens to eat up the bed of fresh mint that had flourished at the White House during TR's tenure. Mark Will-weber, Town & Country, "A Complete History of the Mint Julep," 10 Apr. 2017 Another staunch New England Dry was Cora Frances Stoddard, who spent her entire life promoting temperance. Stephanie Schorow, BostonGlobe.com, "What should marijuana opponents do when their cause fails? A lesson from Prohibition," 23 June 2018 Romans 13:1 had been quoted on a variety of topics—including capital punishment and temperance—prior to the Civil War. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Imprisoning kids is ... biblical?," 15 June 2018 Grinspan is first seen in the series displaying a cast iron axe meant to poke fun at longtime temperance leader Carrie Nation, known for attacking barrooms with a hatchet. Roger Catlin, Smithsonian, "The Bitter Aftertaste of Prohibition in American History," 9 June 2018 That said, today’s Westminster looks like a temperance meeting compared with the Westminster of old. The Economist, "Last orders for political drinking," 31 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of temperance

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for temperance

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin temperantia, from temperant-, temperans, present participle of temperare to moderate, be moderate

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Last Updated

10 Aug 2018

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Time Traveler for temperance

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

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More Definitions for temperance

temperance

noun

English Language Learners Definition of temperance

: 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

noun
tem·per·ance | \ ˈtem-pə-rəns , -prəns \

Kids Definition of temperance

1 : control over actions, thoughts, or feelings

2 : the use of little or no liquor

temperance

noun
tem·per·ance | \ ˈtem-p(ə-)rən(t)s, -pərn(t)s \

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on temperance

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for temperance

Spanish Central: Translation of temperance

Nglish: Translation of temperance for Spanish Speakers

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