1 The act or practice of abstaining; voluntary forbearance of any action, especially the refraining from an indulgence of appetite, or from customary gratifications of animal or sensual propensities. Specifically, the practice of abstaining from intoxicating beverages, — called also total abstinence. The abstinence from a present pleasure that offers itself is a pain, nay, oftentimes, a very great one. Locke.
2 The practice of self-denial by depriving one’s self of certain kinds of food or drink, especially of meat. Penance, fasts, and abstinence, To punish bodies for the soul’s offense. Dryden.