A'bstinence. n.s. [abstinentia, Lat.]
- Forbearance of any thing; with the particle from.
Because the abstinence from a present pleasure, that offers itself, is a pain, nay, oftentimes a very great one: it is no wonder that that operates after the same manner pain does, and lessens, in our thoughts, what is future; and so forces us, as it were, blindfold into its embraces. Locke.
- Fasting, or forbearance of necessary food. It is generally distinguished from temperance, as the greater degree from the less; sometimes as single performances from habits; as, a day of abstinence, and a life of temperance.
Say, can you fast? your stomachs are too young:
And abstinence ingenders maladies. Shakesp. Love's Lab. Lost.
Religious men, who hither must be sent
As awful guides of heavenly government;
To teach you penance, fasts, and abstinence,
To punish bodies for the souls offence. Dyrden's Ind. Emp.
And the faces of them, which have used abstinence, shall shine above the stars; whereas our faces shall be blacker than darkness. 2 Esdras, vii. 55.