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
On the other hand, officials also worried that coffeehouses encouraged male dawdling and sloth, not industry and work—a criticism later echoed by anti-alcohol temperance campaigners worldwide.
Dow led the temperance movement in Maine, records the New England Historical Society.
An tankard made in the 18th century was refashioned into a milk can in the 19th century, to reflect Industrial Revolution-era temperance movements.
Helping the cause of the 101st running are the numerous story lines serving as a backdrop: — Speeds are back after years of temperance.
Or look at Highland Park, which was also its own city and drew upon the [Christian] temperance movement.
It was started in 1869 by Thomas Bramwell Welch, a Wesleyan Methodist who advocated temperance and urged grape juice as a substitute for wine in the Eucharist.
The image is one of forty-four portraits of abolitionists from the collection of Emily Howland, who was prominent in the fight for women’s rights, abolition, education, and temperance.
It was hoped the apocalyptic destruction caused by the nuclear bombs the United States dropped on Japan at the end of World War II would inspire sober-minded temperance, even on the part of gung-ho military leaders.
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
What made you want to look up temperance? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).