Definition of abstention noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//əbˈstenʃn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//əbˈstenʃn//
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  1. 1[countable, uncountable] abstention (from something) an act of choosing not to use a vote either in favour of or against something The voting was 15 in favour, 3 against and 2 abstentions. Voter abstention is seen as the only real form of dissent in elections.
  2. 2[uncountable] (formal) the act of not allowing yourself to have or do something enjoyable or something that is considered bad The Church insisted on abstention from all luxuries.
  3. see also abstain
    Word Originearly 16th cent. (denoting the action of keeping back or restraining): from late Latin abstentio(n-), from the verb abstinere , from ab- ‘from’ + tenere ‘hold’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: abstention