Ab"sti*nence (#), n. [F. abstinence, L. abstinentia, fr. abstinere. See Abstain.]


The act or practice of abstaining; voluntary forbearance of any action, especially the refraining from an indulgence of appetite, or from customary gratifications of animal or sensual propensities. Specifically, the practice of abstaining from intoxicating beverages, -- called also total abstinence.

The abstinence from a present pleasure that offers itself is a pain, nay, oftentimes, a very great one. Locke.


The practice of self-denial by depriving one's self of certain kinds of food or drink, especially of meat.

Penance, fasts, and abstinence, To punish bodies for the soul's offense. Dryden.


© Webster 1913.