Reserve abstemious for someone who exercises restraint, especially with regard to alcohol. A rock musician may sing about enjoying wine and women, but in his private life he may be abstemious.

You might get the idea that abstemious is a relative of abstain with a change of consonant, but in fact the two words only share the abs- prefix, meaning "away." The -temious bit in this adjective is from Latin temetum, "intoxicating drink," so it came to refer to someone who keeps alcohol (or other temptations) at arm's length. This word has the vowels a, e, i, o and u in alphabetical order; the adverb abstemiously adds the y!

Definitions of abstemious
  1. adjective
    marked by temperance in indulgence
    abstemious with the use of adverbs”
    synonyms: light
    not extreme in behavior
  2. adjective
    sparing in consumption of especially food and drink
    “"the pleasures of the table, never of much consequence to one naturally abstemious"- John Galsworthy”
    abstentious, abstinent
    self-restraining; not indulging an appetite especially for food or drink
    ascetic, ascetical, austere, spartan
    practicing great self-denial
    nonindulgent, strict
    characterized by strictness, severity, or restraint
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    given to excess in consumption of especially food or drink
    given to gross intemperance in eating or drinking
    crapulent, crapulous
    suffering from excessive eating or drinking
    edacious, esurient, rapacious, ravening, ravenous, voracious, wolfish
    devouring or craving food in great quantities
    wanting to eat or drink more than one can reasonably consume
    hoggish, piggish, piggy, porcine, swinish
    resembling swine; coarsely gluttonous or greedy
    overgreedy, too-greedy
    excessively gluttonous
    characterized by or given to yielding to the wishes of someone
    show more antonyms...
Word Family

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