Definition of teetotal in US English:



  • Choosing or characterized by abstinence from alcohol.

    ‘a teetotal lifestyle’
    • ‘I'm nearly teetotal, I wake up at five every morning to feed the horses and I work all hours.’
    • ‘He is married with two adopted children and is teetotal.’
    • ‘One of the country's leading experts on alcohol believes moderate drinking is healthier than being teetotal.’
    • ‘Over the years I've known 3 sets of twins (not all identical) and in every case one of them drinks and one is teetotal because they don't like the taste of alcohol.’
    • ‘Martin said: ‘Andrew likes a drop or two, Dad enjoys the occasional taster, but the truth is that I am teetotal!’’
    • ‘In the West Midlands, 78% were willing to stop drinking, reduce their alcohol intake or were teetotal already compared to 66% in the capital.’
    • ‘Gerry was teetotal, but we had a fantastic time.’
    • ‘He never drank alcohol, and he had strong teetotal convictions.’
    • ‘Yes, he was an active participant on that evening but, while he was only too happy to dish out the vodka, he remained teetotal and disappeared to bed at a respectable hour so he was fit and able for practice the following morning.’
    • ‘My diet is a lot better now and importantly, I'm virtually teetotal, which has really helped my fitness.’
    • ‘It really is hard to believe that he's teetotal.’
    • ‘I have lost a pound or two in weight - my boyfriend has lost half a stone - but I don't feel being teetotal has led to a major improvement in my health.’
    • ‘The Temperance Society, an organisation in which people pledged to be teetotal, was first established in 1832.’
    • ‘And I hadn't fully realised how odd I'd feel, an omnivore who likes a drink dropped into a city populated largely by teetotal vegetarians.’
    • ‘Mild-mannered, teetotal, often other-worldly, he was unswerving in his work for a party notable then for its lack of success.’
    • ‘Thankfully, I'm quite happy to stay teetotal for the duration.’
    • ‘In the 1830s, a third movement, the teetotal movement, emerged and radicalized temperance reform in two ways.’
    • ‘The alcohol ban is a strain on my mum, she likes a bit of a drink, but my dad's teetotal.’
    • ‘‘I've been teetotal for seven years, and I'm never going back,’ he says.’
    • ‘Though the general fitness of players has improved during my 17 years in the game, teetotal footballers are still vastly outnumbered by those who do partake of an alcoholic refreshment.’
    abstinent, abstemious
    View synonyms


Mid 19th century: emphatic extension of total, apparently first used by Richard Turner, a worker from Preston, in a speech (1833) urging total abstinence from all alcohol, rather than mere abstinence from spirits, advocated by some early temperance reformers.