• (RP) IPA: /əbˈsteɪn/
  • (America) IPA: /əbˈsteɪn/, /æbˈsteɪn/

abstain (abstains, present participle abstaining; past and past participle abstained)

  1. (transitive, reflexive, obsolete) Keep or withhold oneself. [Attested from around 1350 to 1470 until the mid 16th century.]
  2. (intransitive) Refrain from (something or doing something); keep from doing, especially an indulgence. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
    • 22 May 1948, United Nations, Security Council Resolution 49
      The Security Council […] calls upon all Governments and authorities, without prejudice to the rights, claims or positions of the parties concerned, to abstain from any hostile military action in Palestine and to that end to issue a cease-fire order to their military and paramilitary forces
  3. (intransitive, obsolete) Fast not eat for a period. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
  4. (intransitive) Deliberately refrain from casting one's vote at a meeting where one is present. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
  5. (transitive, obsolete) Hinder; keep back; withhold. [Attested from the early 16th century until the mid 17th century.]