- sparing or moderate in eating and drinking; temperate in diet.
- characterized by abstinence: an abstemious life.
- sparing: an abstemious diet.
- moderate or sparing, esp in the consumption of alcohol or food; temperate
c.1600, from Latin abstemius “sober, temperate,” from ab(s)- “from” (see ab-) + stem of temetum “strong drink,” related to temulentus “drunken.” Technically, of liquor, but extended in Latin to temperance in living generally. Related: Abstemiously; abstemiousness.