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used in a sentence
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Definition not doing too much of something such as eating or drinking
  • You still have the touch; you may remain abstemious if you must, much as it pains me.
    Robert Ludlum  --  The Bourne Ultimatum
  • Be more abstemious, or else ...
    Aldous Huxley  --  Brave New World
  • Mr. Wrench, generally abstemious, often drank wine rather freely at a party, getting the more irritable in consequence.
    George Eliot  --  Middlemarch
  • "Poor devil,' smiled the abstemious Philip.
    W. Somerset Maugham  --  Of Human Bondage
  • "Their singular abstemiousness and temperance," said De Bracy, forgetting the plan which promised him a Saxon bride.
    Sir Walter Scott  --  Ivanhoe
  • (Editor's note:  The suffix "-ness" converts an adjective to a noun that means the quality of. This is the same pattern you see in words like darkness, kindness, and coolness.)
  • And so to become inured to a narrow and abstemious life in so doing.
    Theodore Dreiser  --  An American Tragedy
  • You know me: I am busy from morning till night and abstemious, so of course I am well.
    Leo Tolstoy  --  War and Peace
  • Look, thou be true; do not give dalliance Too much the rein: the strongest oaths are straw To th' fire i' the blood: be more abstemious, Or else good night your vow!
    William Shakespeare  --  The Tempest
  • For a healthful diet, he told the abstemious Rush, he believed, like the doctors of his youth, in milk and vegetables, "with very little animal food and still less spiritous liquors."
    David McCullough  --  John Adams
  • The reader will perceive that I am treating the subject rather from an economic than a dietetic point of view, and he will not venture to put my abstemiousness to the test unless he has a well-stocked larder.
    Henry David Thoreau  --  Walden
  • (Editor's note:  The suffix "-ness" converts an adjective to a noun that means the quality of. This is the same pattern you see in words like darkness, kindness, and coolness.)
  • That, carnivorous," he continued, glancing his eye at the open page of his tablets; "this, granivorous; habits, fierce, dangerous; habits, patient, abstemious; ears, inconspicuous; ears, elongated; horns, diverging, &c.
    James Fenimore Cooper  --  The Prairie
  • She had begun to drink, not heavily—what she drank did not even hesitantly slur her speech—but the three or four mild glasses of whiskey and water she downed during that gray wet afternoon comprised a surprising departure for one who, like Nathan, had been relatively abstemious.
    William Styron  --  Sophie's Choice
  • The peasants were still living exactly as they had in colonial times, and had not heard of unions, or Sundays off, or the minimum wage; but now delegates from the new-formed parties of the left, disguised as evangelicals, were beginning to infiltrate the haciendas, with a Bible tucked under one armpit and Marxist pamphlets under the other, simultaneously preaching the abstemious life and revolution or death.
    Isabel Allende  --  The House of Spirits
  • He did not smoke, and of course he did not drink; indeed, he had never tasted spirits, and was inclined to avoid people who had-a circumstance that did not shrink his social circle as much as might be supposed, for the center of that circle was supplied by the members of Garden City's First Methodist Church, a congregation totaling seventeen hundred, most of whom were as abstemious as Mr. Clutter could desire.
    Truman Capote  --  In Cold Blood
  • Today it's raining, the thin, abstemious rain of early April.
    Margaret Atwood  --  The Blind Assassin
  • You're not abstemious and it was a long trip-this may be a long conversation.
    Robert Ludlum  --  The Bourne Ultimatum
  • Hardy and docile for his genus; abstemious and patient, even for his humble species.
    James Fenimore Cooper  --  The Prairie
  • It was ill-chosen; for Mr. Brooke was an abstemious man, and to drink a second glass of sherry quickly at no great interval from the first was a surprise to his system which tended to scatter his energies instead of collecting them.
    George Eliot  --  Middlemarch
  • Must be abstemious to sing.
    James Joyce  --  Ulysses

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