A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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A'bstinence. n.s. [abstinentia, Lat.]

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

Sources: The Bible - 2. Esdras (5) · Dryden, John (788) · Locke, John (269) · Shakespeare's Love's Labours Lost (33)

Attributes: Latin (690) · Noun Substantive (1269)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Abstinence." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: January 30, 2014. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/abstinence/.

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