to hold oneself back voluntarily, especially from something regarded as improper or unhealthy (usually followed by from):
to abstain from eating meat.
to refrain from casting one’s vote:
a referendum in which two delegates abstained.
And scientists do, indeed, downplay many of the supposed benefits of abstaining from food.
The Enlightenment Diet Bruce Feiler September 26, 2009
I told her I was up for it and prepared by abstaining from alcohol, coffee, red meat, and sex for two days prior to the ceremony.
Spirit Tripping With Colombian Shamans Chris Allbritton August 23, 2014
Belgium has stated it will be voting yes instead of abstaining.
How Europe Will Vote And Why Fatima Ayub November 27, 2012
The largely symbolic document was approved by 123 member states, with 13 voting against and 46 abstaining.
For Bashar Al-Assad, Crossing Obama’s Red Line Was a Win-Win Anna Momigliano November 21, 2013
I pictured him as living in the wilderness, abstaining from meat and drink and living on roots and herbs and cold water.
Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians Martin Luther
But I am not now abstaining from doing so at the first moment when I asked the question.
War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
There is little merit, I should think, in abstaining from such a constant use of medicine.
Travels through the South of France and the Interior of Provinces of Provence and Languedoc in the Years 1807 and 1808 Lt-Col. Pinkney
Hitherto he had kept himself pure for it, abstaining from all Headache overnight.
The Combined Maze May Sinclair
The old-fashioned habit of abstaining from taking the last piece upon the plate is no longer observed.
Our Deportment John H. Young
These were, no doubt, good reasons for abstaining, and they were grand morality.
The Amazing Marriage, Complete George Meredith
verb (intransitive) usually foll by from
to choose to refrain: he abstained from alcohol
to refrain from voting, esp in a committee, legislature, etc
late 14c., “to withhold oneself,” from Old French abstenir (14c.), earlier astenir (13c.) “hold (oneself) back, refrain, abstain (from), practice abstinence,” from Latin abstinere “withhold, keep back, keep off,” from ab(s)- “from, away from” (see ab-) + tenere “to hold” (see tenet). Specifically of liquor, attested from late 14c. Of voting, 1796. Related: Abstained; abstaining.
sparing or moderate in eating and drinking; temperate in diet. characterized by abstinence: an abstemious life. sparing: an abstemious diet. Historical Examples For this they work most energetically; living in the most abstemious manner, in order that they may not break into their hoard. A Tramp’s Wallet William Duthie He was however naturally of an […]
sparing or moderate in eating and drinking; temperate in diet. characterized by abstinence: an abstemious life. sparing: an abstemious diet. Historical Examples He ate on, rapidly but abstemiously, and finished before Mr. Bylash, who had had twenty minutes’ start of him. Queed Henry Sydnor Harrison adjective moderate or sparing, esp in the consumption of alcohol […]
sparing or moderate in eating and drinking; temperate in diet. characterized by abstinence: an abstemious life. sparing: an abstemious diet. Historical Examples True, I’ve since made call at an hotel, but you don’t give me credit for my abstemiousness! Gwen Wynn Mayne Reid Of true Puritan abstemiousness, his only indulgence was chewing tobacco. The Crisis, […]
an act or instance of . withholding of a vote. Contemporary Examples A second diplomat told the Daily Beast that a Chinese abstention may be “inevitable.” Punishing the Mullahs Michael Adler February 9, 2010 A diplomat told the Daily Beast that a Chinese abstention on the U.N. vote may be “inevitable.” Punishing the Mullahs Michael […]