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Definition choosing not to do something — typically refraining from something such as alcohol or sex for self-benefit
  • And so they lived in their prayers, and fastings, and great abstinence.
    Thomas Malory  --  Le Morte D'Arthur
  • What they cared about was convincing Hans Castorp to renounce his abstinence.
    Thomas Mann  --  The Magic Mountain
  • Abstinence, confession, communion, baptism, mass—take your pick—choose whatever combination pleases you and ignore the rest.
    Dan Brown  --  The Da Vinci Code
  • As Shiftman writes: Chippers' smoking varies considerably from day to day, and their smoking patterns often include days of complete abstinence.
    Malcolm Gladwell  --  The Tipping Point
  • Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder.
    Margaret Atwood  --  The Handmaid's Tale
  • I give you leave," returned Laurie, who enjoyed having someone to tease, after his long abstinence from his favorite pastime.
    Louisa May Alcott  --  Little Women
  • But the president has been the picture of abstinence, neither smoking a cigar nor taking a sip of alcohol.
    Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard  --  Killing Kennedy
  • He spoke to Abra of the necessity for abstinence and decided that he would live a life of celibacy.
    John Steinbeck  --  East of Eden
  • She didn't seem like the woman who ripped the cable box out of the wall or lectured us for hours on the virtues of abstinence.
    Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl  --  Beautiful Creatures
  • I wasn't sold on his life of abstinence, and I resented him for curbing my appetite.
    Stephenie Meyer  --  Twilight
  • To the average person, such abstinence doesn't sound difficult, let alone heroic.
    W. William Winokur  --  The Perfect Game
  • You wish a real leave of abstinence.
    F. Scott Fitzgerald  --  Tender is the Night
  • My abstinence felt noble because it was so very difficult.
    Abraham Verghese  --  Cutting for Stone
  • Your stomachs are too young, And abstinence engenders maladies.
    William Shakespeare  --  Love's Labour's Lost
  • The Bush administration focused its AIDS prevention campaign on abstinence-only programs.
    Nicholas D. Kristof  --  Half the Sky
  • "4 "What deity does Amaterasu worship in abstinence in the Plain of High Heaven?
    Joseph Campbell  --  The Hero With a Thousand Faces
  • The Enemy's demand on humans takes the form of a dilemma; either complete abstinence or unmitigated monogamy.
    C.S. Lewis  --  The Screwtape Letters
  • Now gripping this, hefting a pair of spears, he joined the battle, formidable as some hill-bred lion, ravenous for meat after long abstinence.
    Homer  --  The Iliad
  • Fernanda carried a delicate calendar with small golden keys on which her spiritual adviser had marked in purple ink the dates of venereal abstinence.
    Gabriel Garcia Marquez  --  One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • After a period of computer celibacy, she was suffering from massive cyber-abstinence.
    Stieg Larsson  --  The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

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