CET6+ TEM8 GRE
1. abs- + -tain.
2. => keep away, keep off.
- abstain:  The literal meaning of this word’s ultimate source, Latin abstinēre, was ‘hold or keep away’, and hence ‘withhold’ (the root verb, tenēre, produced many other derivatives in English, such as contain, maintain, obtain, and retain, as well as tenacious, tenant, tenement, tenet, tenor, and tenure).
That is how it was used when it was first introduced into English (via Old French abstenir), and it was not until the 16th century that it began to be used more specifically for refraining from pleasurable activities, particularly the drinking of alcohol. The past participial stem of the Latin verb, abstent-, gave us abstention, while the present participial stem, abstinent-, produced abstinent and abstinence.
There is no connection, incidentally, with the semantically similar abstemious, which comes from a Latin word for alcoholic drink, tēmōtum.
- abstain (v.)
- late 14c., "to withhold oneself," from Old French abstenir (14c.), earlier astenir (13c.) "hold (oneself) back, refrain, abstain (from), practice abstinence," from Latin abstinere "withhold, keep back, keep off," from ab(s)- "from, away from" (see ab-) + tenere "to hold" (see tenet). Specifically of liquor, late 14c. Of voting, 1796. Related: Abstained; abstaining.
- 1. They say it would be political suicide for the party to abstain.
- 2. Abstain from sex or use condoms.
- 3. Do you drink alcohol, smoke, or abstain?
- 4. His doctor ordered him to abstain from beer and wine.
- 5. To abstain from meat was a serious deviation.
[ abstain 造句 ]