• WordNet 3.6
    • n abstinence act or practice of refraining from indulging an appetite
    • n abstinence the trait of abstaining (especially from alcohol)
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Abstinence The act or practice of abstaining; voluntary forbearance of any action, especially the refraining from an indulgence of appetite, or from customary gratifications of animal or sensual propensities. Specifically, the practice of abstaining from intoxicating beverages, -- called also total abstinence. "The abstinence from a present pleasure that offers itself is a pain, nay, oftentimes, a very great one."
    • Abstinence The practice of self-denial by depriving one's self of certain kinds of food or drink, especially of meat. "Penance, fasts, and abstinence ,
      To punish bodies for the soul's offense."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n abstinence In general, the act or practice of voluntarily refraining from the use of something or from some action; abnegation.
    • n abstinence More specifically The refraining from indulgence in the pleasures of the table, or from customary gratifications of the senses or the intellect, either partially or wholly.
    • n abstinence In a still narrower sense— Forbearance from the use of alcoholic liquors as a beverage: in this sense usually preceded by the adjective total. Eccles., the refraining from certain kinds of food or drink on certain days, as from flesh on Fridays.
    • n abstinence The act of abstaining from the use of, or from the doing of, something; specifically, in economics, voluntary abstention from the consumption of anything which one has the power of consuming or using, with the purpose of increasing one's resources or accumulating wealth for future enjoyment.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Abstinence an abstaining or refraining, especially from some indulgence (with from)—also Abs′tinency
    • ***


  • St. Augustine
    “Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.”
  • Sir William Temple
    “The only way for a rich man to be healthy is by exercise and abstinence, to live as if he were poor.”
  • Vance Havner
    “I'm tied of hearing about temperance instead of abstinence, in order to please the cocktail crowd in church congregations.”
  • Sir William Watson
    Sir William Watson
    “And must I wholly banish hence these red and golden juices, and pay my vows to Abstinence, that pallidest of Muses?”
  • St. Augustine
    “To many, total abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.”
  • Frances E. Willard
    Frances E. Willard
    “Temperance is moderation in the things that are good and total abstinence from the things that are foul.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. abstinence, L. abstinentia, fr. abstinere,. See Abstain
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
See Abstain.


In literature:

At the close of the meeting, persons were invited to take the pledge of total abstinence, but not one responded to the invitation.
"The Hero of the Humber" by Henry Woodcock
The Ihram must {232} be put on, and the obligations of abstinence which it entails must be observed.
"The Faith of Islam" by Edward Sell
Parzival then led a new life of abstinence and self-abnegation, and a wise hermit became his instructor.
"Character Sketches of Romance, Fiction and the Drama" by E. Cobham Brewer
Abstinence, as I have mentioned, is one of the essential ingredients in the phantom dish.
"The Promised Land" by Mary Antin
Another secret of their modest wealth is their abstinence from strong drink.
"Manasseh" by Maurus Jokai
Abstinence was a part of his training.
"The Journal of Negro History, Volume 4, 1919" by Various
He was bigoted; in other words, he had not taken up total abstinence by halves.
"Frank Oldfield" by T.P. Wilson
Again I say, exercise yourselves by abstinence.
"Expositions of Holy Scripture" by Alexander Maclaren
When you play, you are abstinent as a priest before the mass.
"The Black Cross" by Olive M. Briggs
With respect to society he frequently practiced total abstinence; but the world was amusing, and he liked it.
"The Bibliotaph" by Leon H. Vincent
But utter abstinence is out of the question.
"The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 101, March, 1866" by Various
The church is perfectly right in urging total abstinence upon the individual.
"Civics and Health" by William H. Allen
Hence they preached, not moderation, but total abstinence from all pursuit of physical grace and beauty.
"The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 102, April, 1866" by Various
In time the habit of drinking was left off and total abstinence was firmly established.
"Modern Persia" by Mooshie G. Daniel
A bowl of milk was presented to me, to refresh me after my walk and long abstinence.
"The Pacha of Many Tales" by Frederick Marryat
It was not a total-abstinence movement at first, but was designed particularly to check the use of spirituous liquors.
"Society" by Henry Kalloch Rowe
These may be briefly stated as risk, time and abstinence.
"Usury" by Calvin Elliott
Miles attended the meeting, and, according to promise, signed the total-abstinence pledge.
"Blue Lights" by R.M. Ballantyne
But should not the Victorian apostles of abstinence go further?
"Donahoe's Magazine, Volume 15, No. 1, January 1886" by Various
But certainly in the case of every drunkard, total abstinence is the only desirable goal.
"Psychotherapy" by Hugo Münsterberg

In poetry:

"They both are here to bid you shun
The other one's society,
For Total Abstinence is one,
The other, Inebriety."
"Bob Polter" by William Schwenck Gilbert
"In me, as your adviser hints,
Of Abstinence you've got a type -
Of MR. TWEEDIE'S pretty prints
I am the happy prototype.
"Bob Polter" by William Schwenck Gilbert
I see. What I admire
Chiefly, I think, in your idyl, so to speak,
Is the cool modesty that checks your youthful fire,--
Absence of self-love and abstinence of cheek!
"Artemis In Sierra" by Francis Bret Harte
I knew a man on Seventh Street
Who, at a very slight expense,
By persevering, was complete-
Ly cured of total abstinence;
An altered life he has begun
And takes a horn with anyone.
"Bluebeard" by Harry Graham
Besides the cleannesse of sweet abstinence,
Quick thoughts and motions at a small expense,
A face not fearing light:
Whereas in fulnesse there are sluttish fumes,
Sowre exhalations, and dishonest rheumes,
Revenging the delight.
"Lent" by George Herbert

In news:

DeSoto County school board adopts abstinence -only sex education plan.
Regardless of when abstinent women choose to share their decision to practice celibacy, Tiy-E said it is good to discuss it before things start to escalate toward sex.
Governor vetoes abstinence -only education bill.
Abstinence -Only Bill Sent to Utah Governor.
Utah public school students may soon be taught abstinence -- if Gov Gary Herbert signs a bill to mandate abstinence -only sex education.
Abstinence -only bill would not make much difference.
A bill requiring abstinence -only sex education — if local schools opt to teach human sexuality at all — received approval from the state House of Representatives yesterday.
Rapper Nicki Minaj is urging young fans to remain abstinent because she doesn't want them to "ruin their lives.".
"This clearly shows that prescribed abstinence -only education in public schools does not lead to abstinent behavior," said David Hall, second author and assistant professor of genetics in the Franklin College.
In the past few years, Rep Mark Souder of Indiana had an affair with the staff member who had helped him produce a video promoting sexual abstinence.
Have you seen Bristol Palin and The Situation's ridiculous abstinence PSA.
Twelve to 16 babies delivered each year at John Peter Smith Hospital are born with neonatal abstinence syndrome from being exposed to drugs while in the womb.
FRESNO, Calif.—Parents and physicians sued the Clovis Unified School District recently over its high school abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education.
Ending complacency on HIV means embracing abstinence.
In Abbotsford, a policy on sex education urges schools to "celebrate" abstinence.

In science:

Some of these communities promote NSSI activities, while others advocate for NSSI abstinence.
Semantic Networks of Interests in Online NSSI Communities