verb (used without object)
to hold oneself back voluntarily, especially from something regarded as improper or unhealthy (usually followed by from ): to abstain from eating meat.
to refrain from casting one's vote: a referendum in which two delegates abstained.

1350–1400; Middle English abste(i)nen < Middle French abstenirLatin abstinēre, equivalent to abs- abs- + -tinēre, combining form of tenēre to hold, keep

nonabstaining, adjective
overabstain, verb (used without object)

1. forbear; desist, cease.

1. indulge.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
abstain (əbˈsteɪn)
vb (usually foll by from)
1.  to choose to refrain: he abstained from alcohol
2.  to refrain from voting, esp in a committee, legislature, etc
[C14: via Old French from Latin abstinēre, from abs-ab-1 + tenēre to hold, keep]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., "to withhold oneself," from O.Fr. abstenir, from L. abstinere "withhold," from ab(s)- "from, away from" + tenere "to hold" (see tenet). Specifically of liquor, attested from late 14c. Of voting, 1885.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
When the class asked the student body to abstain from computers for 24 hours
  and met to discuss it, the camera crew was there.
It was the visitor's delicacy that made her abstain from interference.
The parent is advised to be honest and answer the child's queries, but should
  abstain from volunteering any detailed information.
Some simple books abstain from slick photography but work well in the kitchen.
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