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”).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /æbˈstiː.mɪ.əs/
- (US) IPA(key): /æbˈsti.mi.əs/, /əbˈsti.mi.əs/
- Rhymes: -iːmiəs
- 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.]
1646/50, Sir Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica, Book 3, Chap. 21, "Of the Cameleon":
- It cannot be denied it is (if not the most of any) a very abstemious animall, and as such by reason of its frigidity, paucity of bloud, and latitancy in the winter (about which time the observations are often made) will long subsist without a visible sustentation.
- Sparingly used; used with temperance or moderation. [First attested in the mid 17th century.]
- Marked by, or spent in, abstinence
- an abstemious life.
- (rare) Promotive of abstemiousness.
1700, [John] Dryden, “Of the Pythagorean Philosophy. From Ovid’s Metamorphoses Book XV”, in Fables Ancient and Modern; Translated into Verse, from Homer, Ovid, Boccace, & Chaucer: With Original Poems, London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, within Gray's Inn Gate next Gray's Inn Lane, OCLC 228732415, page 521:
- But ſtranger Virtues yet in Streams we find, / Some change not only Bodies, but the Mind: / […] Clytorian Streams the love of Wine expel, / (Such is the virtue of th' abſtemious Well;) […]
- For usage examples of this term, see Citations:abstemious.
- 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 Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.
- “abstemious” in Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief; William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors, The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 2002, ISBN 978-0-19-860457-0, page 9.