abstain

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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.

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

abstain (third-person singular simple present abstains, present participle abstaining, simple past and past participle abstained)

  1. (transitive, reflexive, obsolete) Keep or withhold oneself. [Attested from around 1350 to 1470 until the mid 16th century.][1]
  2. (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.][1]
    • Who abstains from meat that is not gaunt? - Shakespeare, Richard II, II-i
  3. (intransitive, obsolete) Fast. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.][1]
  4. (intransitive) Deliberately refrain from casting one's vote at a meeting where one is present. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.][1]
  5. (transitive, obsolete) Hinder; keep back; withhold. [Attested from the early 16th century until the mid 17th century.][1]
    • Whether he abstain men from marying [sic]. - John Milton

Usage notes[edit]

  • (keep or withhold oneself): Followed by the word from or of.
  • (refrain from something): Followed by the word from.

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Lesley Brown (editor), The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 5th edition (Oxford University Press, 2003 [1933], ISBN 978-0-19-860575-7), page 9

Anagrams[edit]