abstain

If you abstain from something, you restrain yourself from consuming it. People usually abstain from things that are considered vices — like drinking alcohol or eating chocolate.

Roots of the word abstain are from the 14th-century French, "to withhold oneself," and the word often refers to people who abstain or keep themselves from drinking liquor. The noun form abstinence also pops up often in reference to abstinence programs that urge teens to abstain from premarital sex. Abstain can also mean to withhold a vote, and sometimes a difficult decision is held up when government representatives abstain from voting one way or another.

PRIMARY MEANINGS OF: abstain

1
v
choose not to consume
2
v
refrain from voting
FULL DEFINITIONS OF: abstain
1

v choose not to consume

“I abstain from alcohol”
Synonyms:
desist, refrain
Antonyms:
consume, have, ingest, take, take in
serve oneself to, or consume regularly
Types:
show 6 types...
hide 6 types...
fast
abstain from eating
fast
abstain from certain foods, as for religious or medical reasons
avoid, keep off
refrain from certain foods or beverages
teetotal
practice teetotalism and abstain from the consumption of alcoholic beverages
diet
eat sparingly, for health reasons or to lose weight
diet
follow a regimen or a diet, as for health reasons
2

v refrain from voting

Type of:
forbear, refrain
resist doing something
WORD FAMILY
USAGE EXAMPLES