First attested in 1600. From Latin abstēmius (“abstaining from wine”); from ab, abs (“from”) + tēmus, root of tēmētum (“intoxicating drink, mead, wine”), akin to German dämlich (“stupid, silly”), Old Norse þám (“mugginess”), Old Irish tám (“death”), Sanskrit ताम्यति (tāmyati, “he becomes stunned, exhausted”).
- Sparing in diet; refraining from a free use of food and strong drinks; temperate; abstinent; sparing in the indulgence of the appetite or passions. [First attested in the mid 17th century.]
- Instances of longevity are chiefly among the abstemious - John Arbuthnot.
- Under his special eye Abstemious I grew up and thrived amain. - John Milton
- 1919, W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, chapter 28
- In the dimness of the landing I could not see him very well, but there was something in his voice that surprised me. I knew he was of abstemious habit or I should have thought he had been drinking.
- Sparingly used; used with temperance or moderation. [First attested in the mid 17th century.]
- an abstemious diet - Edward Gibbon
- Marked by, or spent in, abstinence; as, an abstemious life.
- One abstemious day. - Alexander Pope
- (rare) Promotive of abstemiousness.
- Such is the virtue of the abstemious well. - John Dryden
- For usage examples of this term, see the citations page.
Derived terms 
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- 2003 , Brown, Lesley editor, The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, edition 5th, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-860575-7, page 9: