Meaning of ABSTAIN in English


əbzˈtān, ab-, -bˈst- verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English absteinen, abstenen, from Middle French abstenir, from Latin abstinēre, from abs- (variant of ab- ab (I)) + tenēre to hold — more at thin

intransitive verb

: to withhold oneself from participation : refrain voluntarily : withhold oneself deliberately from an action

a vote of nine million in favor, eight million against, and nine million abstaining — E.J.Knapton

: forbear — often used with from

they abstained from comment

a lifelong pledge to abstain from drinking — M.V.Reidy

transitive verb

obsolete : withhold

Synonyms: see refrain

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.