- Abstention from alcoholic beverages.
- Abstention from sexual intercourse.
An example of abstinence is a recovering alcoholic that no longer drinks.
- Specifically, the practice of abstaining from sexual intercourse, either permanently or until marriage. [First attested around 1150 to 1350.]
Other Word Forms
Origin of abstinence
- Middle English from Old French abstenance from Latin abstinentia from abstinēns abstinent- present participle of abstinēre to hold back abstain
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- From Middle English, from Old French astinence, from Latin abstinentia, from abstinens, present participle of abstinēō (“withhold”).