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[kon-tn-uh ns] /ˈkɒn tn əns/
self-restraint or abstinence, especially in regard to sexual activity; temperance; moderation.
Physiology. the ability to voluntarily control urinary and fecal discharge.
Origin of continence
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin continentia. See continent, -ence
Related forms
noncontinence, noun
noncontinency, noun
uncontinence, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for continency
  • They are said to have lived in perpetual continency.
  • But if they have not continency, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
  • Continuity of business and continency plans are being developed.
Word Origin and History for continency



late 14c., "self-restraint," from Old French continence (14c.), from Latin continentia "a holding back, repression," from continent-, present participle stem of continere (see continent). Especially of sexual desire from late 14c.; of the body's eliminatory functions, from 1915. Related: Continency.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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continency in Medicine

continence con·ti·nence (kŏn'tə-nəns)

  1. Self-restraint; moderation.

  2. Voluntary control over urinary and fecal discharge.

  3. Partial or complete abstention from sexual activity.

con'ti·nent adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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