Definition of temperance in English:



mass noun
  • Abstinence from alcoholic drink.

    as modifier ‘the temperance movement’
    • ‘In the 1830s, a third movement, the teetotal movement, emerged and radicalized temperance reform in two ways.’
    • ‘By the end of the nineteenth century, as temperance gripped Wales, every distillery but one had closed down.’
    • ‘The appearance of temperance societies, sometimes supported by the medical establishment, caused many to re-evaluate the role of wine in diet and medicine.’
    • ‘Also, some temperance advocates blamed women's lack of domesticity for their men's drinking.’
    • ‘In this last aspect, however, habitual temperance will generally be found to be much more beneficial than occasional fasting.’
    • ‘The brotherhoods' temperance activity incorporated aspects of earlier working-class and middle-class temperance efforts.’
    • ‘What is also clear is that there existed a range of opinion of the subject of alcohol, temperance, and gender identity.’
    • ‘Women's temperance rhetoric and activity bolstered brotherhood temperance efforts and to an extent influenced union policy.’
    • ‘There are both striking parallels and important differences between the contemporary war on drink and drugs and the old temperance crusade.’
    • ‘Abolitionists, free-Boilers, temperance advocates, and nativists were organized interests of that era.’
    • ‘Later, however, changing tastes and pressure from temperance advocates dictated that absinthe be diluted with water, preferably sweetened.’
    • ‘The crowd received sheets of lyrics composed by two temperance advocates and set to popular tunes.’
    • ‘Under the banner of temperance and local prohibition of the sale of intoxicating beverages, Norwegian politicians gained the support of their compatriots and were elected to public office.’
    • ‘The movement often took the form of a religious revival and was referred to as a crusade: one teetotal group was even included with the churches by the religious census of 1851, along with temperance Wesleyans and temperance Christians.’
    • ‘Though temperance advocates acknowledged that either male or female drinking destroyed domestic happiness, they often reserved their harshest opprobrium for women's drunkenness.’
    • ‘The temperance advocates got strong support from the Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist and Anglican churches.’
    • ‘The idea that social regeneration might come through the adoption of temperance, as temperance advocates argued, encountered some criticism from a minority of churchmen, particularly High Anglicans.’
    • ‘The rhetoric combined the moral style of bourgeois temperance advocacy with an emphasis on alcohol's impact on the man and the family.’
    • ‘The nineteenth century temperance approach, which had inveighed against the dangers of alcohol itself, was now rejected as moralistic and unscientific and the focus of attention was, once again, on the disease of alcoholism.’
    • ‘Intent on removing alcohol from every table, temperance reformers across America made water the rallying symbol and principal icon of their movement.’
    teetotalism, abstinence, abstention, sobriety
    View synonyms


Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French temperaunce, from Latin temperantia ‘moderation’, from temperare ‘restrain’.