abstention (n.)

1520s, "a holding off, refusal to do something," from French abstention (Old French astencion), from Late Latin abstentionem (nominative abstentio) "the act of retaining," noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin abstinere/abstenere "withhold, keep back, keep off," from assimilated form of ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + tenere "to hold" (from PIE root *ten- "to stretch"). As "a refraining from voting" by 1859.

Origin and meaning of abstention

updated on October 13, 2021