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


Broom icon.svg A user suggests that this entry be cleaned up, giving the reason: “translations out of sync – abstaining from wine?”.
Please see the discussion on Requests for cleanup(+) for more information and remove this template after the problem has been dealt with.


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).



abstemious ‎(comparative more abstemious, superlative most abstemious)

  1. 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.][1]
    • (Can we date this quote?), John Arbuthnot, (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      Instances of longevity are chiefly among the abstemious
    • (Can we date this quote?), John Milton, (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      Under his special eye Abstemious I grew up and thrived amain.
    • 1919, W. Somerset Maugham, chapter 28, in The Moon and Sixpence:
      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.
  2. Sparingly used; used with temperance or moderation. [First attested in the mid 17th century.][1]
    • (Can we date this quote?), Edward Gibbon, (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      an abstemious diet
  3. Marked by, or spent in, abstinence
    an abstemious life.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Alexander Pope, (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      One abstemious day.
    • 1826, Mary Shelley, chapter 5, in The Last Man:
      [] when I, abstemious naturally, and rendered so by the fever that preyed on me, was forced to recruit myself with food.
  4. (rare) Promotive of abstemiousness.
    • (Can we date this quote?), John Dryden, (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      Such is the virtue of the abstemious well.
    • For usage examples of this term, see Citations:abstemious.


Derived terms[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.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Lesley Brown (editor), The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 5th edition (Oxford University Press, 2003 [1933], ISBN 978-0198605751), page 9