Definition of temperance in English:


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  • 1Abstinence from alcoholic drink.

    ‘Davies was a strict advocate of temperance’
    • ‘more than two-thirds of the people there had publicly taken the pledge of temperance’
    • ‘the temperance movement’
    • ‘The idea that social regeneration might come through the adoption of temperance, as temperance advocates argued, encountered some criticism from a minority of churchmen, particularly High Anglicans.’
    • ‘Though temperance advocates acknowledged that either male or female drinking destroyed domestic happiness, they often reserved their harshest opprobrium for women's drunkenness.’
    • ‘The appearance of temperance societies, sometimes supported by the medical establishment, caused many to re-evaluate the role of wine in diet and medicine.’
    • ‘By the end of the nineteenth century, as temperance gripped Wales, every distillery but one had closed down.’
    • ‘The movement often took the form of a religious revival and was referred to as a crusade: one teetotal group was even included with the churches by the religious census of 1851, along with temperance Wesleyans and temperance Christians.’
    • ‘Later, however, changing tastes and pressure from temperance advocates dictated that absinthe be diluted with water, preferably sweetened.’
    • ‘Abolitionists, free-Boilers, temperance advocates, and nativists were organized interests of that era.’
    • ‘The temperance advocates got strong support from the Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist and Anglican churches.’
    • ‘Also, some temperance advocates blamed women's lack of domesticity for their men's drinking.’
    • ‘The crowd received sheets of lyrics composed by two temperance advocates and set to popular tunes.’
    • ‘In this last aspect, however, habitual temperance will generally be found to be much more beneficial than occasional fasting.’
    • ‘The rhetoric combined the moral style of bourgeois temperance advocacy with an emphasis on alcohol's impact on the man and the family.’
    • ‘What is also clear is that there existed a range of opinion of the subject of alcohol, temperance, and gender identity.’
    • ‘In the 1830s, a third movement, the teetotal movement, emerged and radicalized temperance reform in two ways.’
    • ‘The nineteenth century temperance approach, which had inveighed against the dangers of alcohol itself, was now rejected as moralistic and unscientific and the focus of attention was, once again, on the disease of alcoholism.’
    • ‘Intent on removing alcohol from every table, temperance reformers across America made water the rallying symbol and principal icon of their movement.’
    • ‘Under the banner of temperance and local prohibition of the sale of intoxicating beverages, Norwegian politicians gained the support of their compatriots and were elected to public office.’
    • ‘The brotherhoods' temperance activity incorporated aspects of earlier working-class and middle-class temperance efforts.’
    • ‘Women's temperance rhetoric and activity bolstered brotherhood temperance efforts and to an extent influenced union policy.’
    • ‘There are both striking parallels and important differences between the contemporary war on drink and drugs and the old temperance crusade.’
    teetotalism, abstinence, abstention, sobriety
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  • 2The quality of moderation or self-restraint.

    ‘the whole multitude of men lack temperance in their lives, either from ignorance or from want of self-control’
    • ‘a story of the struggle to achieve temperance’
    self-restraint, restraint, moderation, self-control, self-discipline, lack of indulgence
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/ˈtemp(ə)rəns/ /ˈtɛmp(ə)rəns/


Middle English from Anglo-Norman French temperaunce, from Latin temperantia ‘moderation’, from temperare ‘restrain’.