Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “abstain”

See all translations

abstain

verb [I] uk   /æbˈsteɪn/ us  

abstain verb [I] (NOT DO)

to not do something, especially something enjoyable that you think might be bad: He took a vow to abstain from alcohol/smoking/sex.

abstain verb [I] (NOT VOTE)

to decide not to use your vote: 63 members voted in favour, 39 opposed, and 15 abstained.

abstain verb [I] (STAY AWAY)

Indian English to stay away from work: During a recent general strike, employees of all major trade unions abstained.
abstainer
noun [C] uk   /æbˈsteɪ.nər/ us    /-nɚ/
(Definition of abstain from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of abstain?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “abstain” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

glacial

made or left by a glacier

Word of the Day

Let’s celebrate! (words and phrases for parties)

by Kate Woodford,
December 17, 2014
​​​ With Christmas and New Year almost upon us, we thought it a good time to look at the language of parties and celebrations. First, let’s start with the word ‘party’ itself. To have or throw a party or, less commonly, to give a party is to arrange a party: We’re having a

Read More 

cinderella surgery noun

December 15, 2014
cosmetic surgery to the feet We have all heard of people having nose jobs, boob jobs and liposuction – but now a new trend growing in popularity in America: Cinderella surgery.

Read More