Word of the DayThursday, January 16, 2003
\ab-STEE-mee-uhs\ , adjective;
Sparing in eating and drinking; temperate; abstinent.
Sparingly used or consumed; used with temperance or moderation.
Marked by or spent in abstinence.
They were healthy and abstemious; their chief pleasure was reading and Oliver was a life member of the London Library.
-- Sylvia Townsend Warner, The Music at Long Verney
For a man who trafficked in excess, he was surprisingly abstemious.
-- Ralph Blumenthal, Stork Club
When the 1796 outbreak of yellow fever turned into an epidemic, the frightened citizens followed each preventive vogue: herb tea, cold baths, cream of tartar, vinegar, camphor and abstemious diets.
-- Christina Vella, Intimate Enemies
Abstemious comes from Latin abstemius, from ab-, abs-, "away from" + the root of temetum, "intoxicating drink."
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