Abstain vs Absent - What's the difference?

abstain | absent |

In obsolete|lang=en terms the difference between abstain and absent

is that abstain is (obsolete) hinder; keep back; withhold while absent is (obsolete) stay away; withdraw .

As verbs the difference between abstain and absent

is that abstain is (transitive|reflexive|obsolete) keep or withhold oneself
while absent is (transitive|now|reflexive) keep away; stay away; go away .

As an adjective absent is

(not comparable) being away from a place; withdrawn from a place; not present; missing

As a noun absent is

(obsolete) absentee; a person who is away on occasion .

As a preposition absent is

(legal) in the absence of; without .




(en verb)
  • (transitive, reflexive, obsolete) Keep or withhold oneself.
  • Refrain from (something); hold one's self aloof; to forbear or keep from doing, especially an indulgence of the passions or appetites.
  • * Who abstains from meat that is not gaunt? - Shakespeare, Richard II, II-i
  • (obsolete) Fast.
  • Deliberately refrain from casting one's vote at a meeting where one is present.
  • * Not a few abstained from voting. -
  • (obsolete) Hinder; keep back; withhold.
  • * Whether he abstain men from marying [sic]. -
  • Usage notes

    * (keep or withhold oneself) Followed by the word from' or ' of . * (refrain from something) Followed by the word from .


    * deny oneself * forbear * forgo * give up * refrain * relinquish * withhold

    Derived terms

    * abstention






    Alternative forms


    Etymology 1

    * From (etyl) absent, (etyl) .


  • (not comparable) Being away from a place; withdrawn from a place; not present; missing.
  • * 1623 , (William Shakespeare), All’s Well That Ends Well, II-iii
  • Expecting absent friends.
  • (not comparable) Not existing; lacking.
  • The part was rudimental or absent .
  • (sometimes, comparable) Inattentive to what is passing; absent-minded; preoccupied.
  • * 1746-1747 , Chesterfield, Letters to his Son
  • What is commonly called an absent man is commonly either a very weak or a very affected man.
    * present


    (en noun)
  • (obsolete) Absentee; a person who is away on occasion.
  • Preposition

    (English prepositions)
  • (legal) In the absence of; without.
  • * 1919 , State vs. Britt, Supreme Court of Missouri, Division 2, in The Southwestern Reporter , page 427
  • If the accused refuse upon demand to pay money or deliver property (absent any excuse or excusing circumstance) which came into his hands as a bailee, such refusal might well constitute some evidence of conversion, with the requisite fraudulent intent required by the statute.
  • * 2011 , David Elstein, letter, London Review of Books , XXXIII.15:
  • the Princess Caroline case [...] established that – absent a measurable ‘public interest’ in publication – she was safe from being photographed while out shopping.

    Etymology 2

    From (etyl) absenter, from .


    (en verb)
  • (transitive, now, reflexive) Keep away; stay away; go away.
  • *
  • Go; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more;
  • * 1701-1703 , , "Remarks on Italy"
  • If after due summons any member absents himself, he is to be fined.
  • *
  • This work was strictly voluntary, but any animal who absented himself from it would have his rations reduced by half.
  • (obsolete) Stay away; withdraw.
  • (rare) Leave.
  • Anagrams



    English heteronyms ----