American Dictionary of the English Language, Vol. 1

Author: Noah Webster


AB’STINENCE, n. [L. abstinentia. See Abstain.]

1. In general, the act or practice of voluntarily refraining from, or forbearing any action. Abstinence from every thing which can be deemed labor.

More appropriately,

2. The refraining from an indulgence of appetite, or from customary gratifications of animal propensities. It denotes a total forbearance, as in fasting, or a forbearance of the usual quantity. In the latter sense, it may coincide with temperance, but in general, it denotes a more sparing use of enjoyments than temperance. Besides, abstinence implies previous free indulgence; temperance does not.