Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “abstinence”


noun [U] uk   /ˈæb.stɪ.nəns/ formal us  
not doing something, such as drinking alcohol or having sex: The best way to avoid pregnancy is total abstinence from sex.Abstaining and refraining
adjective uk   /-nənt/ us  
sexually abstinentAbstaining and refraining
(Definition of abstinence from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of abstinence?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “abstinence” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


When birds roost, they go somewhere to rest or sleep.

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More