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From Middle English absteynen, abstenen, from Old French astenir, abstenir, from [[w:Template:lang:la language|Template:lang:la]][[Category:Template:lang:la derivations]] abstinere, abstentum (“‘keep or refrain from’”); from prefix from + hold. See tenable.
Third person singular
- (intransitive) Refrain from (something); hold one's self aloof; to forbear or keep from doing, especially an indulgence of the passions or appetites; -- with from.
- (intransitive) To shun voluntarily.
- Not a few abstained from voting. - Macaulay
- Who abstains from meat that is not gaunt? - Shakespeare, Richard II, II-i
- (intransitive) Deliberately refrain from casting one's vote at a meeting where one is present.
- (transitive) Hinder; withhold.
- Whether he abstain men from marrying. - Milton
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