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  • Adj.




Helga’s abstemious lifestyle kept her from ordering the double chocolate cake at dinner. In an abstemious effort to eat in a balanced fashion, Helga enjoyed the chicken and fresh fennel salad, but rejected dessert altogether. Likewise, her abstemious habits kept her from ordering the white wine that was recommended with the meal. Such abstemious, moderate, and cautious dining practices seemed extreme, but they did keep Helga healthy.

Quiz: What does it mean when one is abstemious?

  • One gives up alcohol and cigarettes.
  • One consumes food and drink in a balanced, non-excessive way.
  • One never eats a second helping.

Memory Hook

Stemming Us If we are abstemious, we stem the tide of too much food and drink filling us up.


  • One in eight Americans lives in poverty, which seems obscene given that the really rich are enjoying a level of privilege that makes the Gilded Age Vanderbilts look like abstemious Puritans. —The Washington Post

Word Ingredients

abs- away, from
tem alcoholic drink
-ious of the nature of

One is being abstemious when one is of the nature of keeping alcoholic drinks away or from oneself.

Word Constellation