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See also: Temperance and tempérance


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From Anglo-Norman temperance, from Latin temperantia (moderation, sobriety, discretion, self-control), from temperans, present participle of temperare (to moderate). See temper.


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temperance (countable and uncountable, plural temperances)

  1. Habitual moderation in regard to the indulgence of the natural appetites and passions; restrained or moderate indulgence
    temperance in eating and drinking
    temperance in the indulgence of joy
  2. Moderation, and sometimes abstinence, in respect to using intoxicating liquors.
    • 1877, Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet
      On these occasions I have noticed such a dreamy, vacant expression in his eyes, that I might have suspected him of being addicted to the use of some narcotic, had not the temperance and cleanliness of his whole life forbidden such a notion.
  3. Moderation of passion
    Synonyms: patience, calmness, sedateness
  4. (obsolete) State with regard to heat or cold; temperature.
    • Shakespeare, in The Tempest 2.1.41
      It [the climate] must needs be of subtle, tender, and delicate temperance.


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