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forbearance from any indulgence of appetite, especially from the use of alcoholic beverages:
total abstinence.
any self-restraint, self-denial, or forbearance.
Economics. the conserving of current income in order to build up capital or savings.
the state of being without a drug, as alcohol or heroin, on which one is dependent.
Contemporary Examples

Participants were divided into four categories of drinking frequency: abstinent, moderate, hazardous, and alcohol-dependent.
Is Alcohol Really Good for You? Alizah Salario May 15, 2011

Bristol Palin was not an abstinent teen—as evidenced by the 3-year-old son often seen resting on her hip.
Bristol Palin’s Blog: Her Take on Gay Marriage & More Caitlin Dickson May 10, 2012

Of these, 43 million are “at risk” for pregnancy—the other 19 million are abstinent or sterile or already pregnant.
How Over-the-Counter Birth Control Could Screw You Kent Sepkowitz November 23, 2012

Historical Examples

The lecturer was convinced that as a result of his lectures his students were exceptionally chaste and abstinent.
The Sexual Life of the Child Albert Moll

These unfortunate creatures cannot be temperate, they must therefore be abstinent.
Tobacco and Alcohol John Fiske

But my poverty kept me abstinent and my youthful romanticism kept me chaste until my married life was well under way.
Tono Bungay H. G. Wells

It is most frequent in males, and more so in the intemperate than in the abstinent.
A System of Practical Medicine By American Authors, Vol. II Various

They found him abstinent, and they made him a guzzler of fire water.
Americana Ebrietatis Hewson L. Peeke

All were to be fasting and abstinent from their wives on the previous night.
The Customs of Old England F. J. Snell

He was most abstinent, full of devotion for the mass, and above measure humble.
The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898: Volume XXXII, 1640 Diego Aduarte

the act or practice of refraining from some action or from the use of something, esp alcohol
(mainly RC Church) the practice of refraining from specific kinds of food or drink, esp from meat, as an act of penance

late 14c., from Old French abstinent (earlier astenant) “moderate, abstemious, modest,” from Latin abstinentem (nominative abstinens), present participle of abstinere (see abstinence).

mid-14c., “forbearance in indulgence of the appetites,” from Old French abstinence (earlier astenance), from Latin abstinentia, noun of quality from abstinentem (nominative abstinens), present participle of abstinere (see abstain). Specifically of sexual appetites from mid-14c., but also in Middle English of food, fighting, luxury.

abstinence ab·sti·nence (āb’stə-nəns)
The act or practice of refraining from indulgence in an appetite, as for certain foods, drink, alcoholic beverages, drugs, or sex.
ab’sti·nent adj.


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