Definition of abstinent in English:



  • Refraining from an activity or from the consumption of something, especially alcohol.

    ‘the patients are best advised to be totally abstinent from alcohol’
    • ‘New research suggested that some alcohol-dependent people could successfully return to normal drinking, instead of having to choose between remaining abstinent, or losing it completely.’
    • ‘I cut right down (ie. largely abstinent except for the odd lapse) a few months ago.’
    • ‘There's nothing in the world wrong with encouraging adolescents to be abstinent as long as possible.’
    • ‘Patients who had had a myocardial infarction were much more likely to be abstinent at 12 months compared with patients who had undergone bypass surgery.’
    • ‘Disciplined, introverted, abstinent, he achieved both aims, becoming a judo champion and, after law school, KGB recruit.’
    • ‘All four, who were abstinent when interviewed, had a history of considerable alcohol misuse in 1997.’
    • ‘They were about one and a half times more likely to be abstinent from marijuana, alcohol, and other drug use in the year after treatment.’
    • ‘In our opinion, the fact that in our study 10% of participants unwilling or unable to stop smoking at baseline were abstinent at two years clearly gives support to the idea that smoking reduction can be a step towards abstinence.’
    • ‘He said that he remained abstinent from alcohol and marijuana for ten years.’
    • ‘We know it has something to do with sex, but if we are asking people to be abstinent from sexual activity, what are the specific behaviors from which we are asking them to abstain?’
    • ‘‘It is very hard to keep abstinent without support,’ said Carter.’
    • ‘The group, made up of politicians, health boards and doctors, have declared that telling pupils to be abstinent is too ‘preachy’ and will stigmatise those pupils who have already had sex.’
    • ‘In such a traditionally abstinent group, abuse of alcohol leads to shame and loss of traditional culture.’
    • ‘There's nothing worse than being abstinent because you're due to play soon.’
    • ‘Some told The Daily Telegraph that they had no intention of assuring their bishops that they will be sexually abstinent when they ‘marry’ their partners.’
    • ‘Lesley believes that her main reason for remaining abstinent was for herself and her son. ‘I couldn't put my son through what he's been through another time.’’
    • ‘Participants who were abstinent from drugs and alcohol during anger management treatment but did not complete anger management treatment were coded as relapsed at the time of the dropout.’
    • ‘Naltrexone seems to interfere with the craving for alcohol that abstinent people feel, Gordis explained.’
    • ‘In order to be eligible to be placed, residents will need to be abstinent from drugs and alcohol and remain so, on or off’
    • ‘It is therefore highly unlikely that he will be abstinent from alcohol unless he was sectioned and in a locked environment.’
    thrifty, sparing, economical, saving
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin abstinent- abstaining, from the verb abstinere (see abstain).