Abstain meaning

ăb-stān, əb-
The definition of abstain is choosing to not do something.

An example of abstain is to not eat animal products during Lent.

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To refrain from voting.

Forty senators voted in favor of the bill, 45 voted against it, and 15 abstained.

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To keep oneself from doing, engaging in, or partaking of something; refrain.

Abstain from partisan political rhetoric; abstain from drinking alcohol.

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(intransitive) Refrain from (something); hold one's self aloof; to forbear or keep from doing, especially an indulgence of the passions or appetites. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
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Abstain means to not vote.

An example of abstain would be a senator who chooses not to vote on a particular bill.

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To hold oneself back; voluntarily do without; refrain (from)

To abstain from smoking.

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(intransitive) Deliberately refrain from casting one's vote at a meeting where one is present. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
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Origin of abstain

  • Middle English absteinen to avoid from Old French abstenir from Latin abstinēre to hold back abs-, ab- away ab–1 tenēre to hold ten- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • First attested around 1380. From Middle English abstene, absteine, absteynen, absteinen, abstenen, from Old French astenir, abstenir, from Latin abstineō (“to hold oneself back”) from abs- (“from”) + (tineō (“hold”), from teneō (“I hold”)). See also tenable.

    From Wiktionary