To Absta'in. v.n. [abstineo, Lat.] To forbear, to deny one's self any gratification; with the particle from.
If thou judge it hard and difficult,
Conversing, looking, loving, to abstain
From love's due rites, nuptial embraces sweet;
And, with desires, to languish without hope. Milton's Paradise Lost, b. x. l. 993.
To be perpetually longing, and impatiently desirous of any thing, so that a man cannot abstain from it, is to lose a man's liberty, and to become a servant of meat and drink, or smoke. Taylor's Rule of living holy.
Even then the doubtful billows scarce abstain
From the toss'd vessel on the troubled main. Dryden's Virgil.