I. noun 1. an instance of declining to vote for or against a proposal or motion • a resolution passed by 126 votes to none, with six abstentions.
2. [ mass noun] — restraint in one’s consumption; abstinence. • alcohol consumption versus abstention.
II. derivatives abstentionism noun
– origin early 16th cent. (denoting the action of keeping back or restraining): from late Latin abstentio(n-), from the verb abstinere (see abstain).