Abstain

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Dr. Goodword
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Abstain

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Aug 15, 2022 5:34 pm

• abstain •


Pronunciation: æb-stayn, êb-staynHear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, intransitive

Meaning: Forgo, refrain, to choose not to do.

Notes: Although this word cannot accept direct objects directly, if we use the preposition from with it, the semantic effect is the same as a transitive verb. The action noun is abstinence or abstinency except in the sense of refraining from voting, which is abstention. The personal noun is the expectable abstainer.

In Play: We may abstain from things that might harm our health: "Jim Beam changed doctors when his told him to abstain from all alcoholic beverages." We often abstain from things for religious reasons: "Phil Anders left the Church when he found out he was expected to abstain from carnal knowledge." Voting is something we may abstain from with no adverse consequences: "Ben Dover abstained from the vote on the gasoline tax bill because his father owned a gas station."

Word History: English borrowed today's Good Word from its favorite source: Old French, where it found abstenir "refrain, abstain". Old French inherited its word from Latin abstinere "withhold, hold back", comprising ab(s) "(away) from" + tenere "to hold". The preposition-prefix ab(s)- came from PIE apo- "(away) from", source also of Sanskrit apa "off, away", English after, of, and off, German auf "up, on", Icelandic af "off, from", Welsh o "from, of", Irish ó "from, off", Lithuanian apie "about, around", and Russian po "along, about" and o(b) "around, about". Tenere was derived from PIE ten-/ton- "to stretch". We find evidence of it in Sanskrit tantram "loom" and tanoti "stretches", Persian tar "string" (as in sitar), Welsh tant "string", Greek tonos "string" and reduplicated tetanos "stiff, rigid", English thin and German dünn "thin".
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Slava
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Re: Abstain

Postby Slava » Tue Aug 16, 2022 7:14 pm

I must quibble with the Good Doctor's assertion that abstaining from voting carries no downsides. I consider voting to be a use it or lose it right, and one that is under fire from certain elements in the US and worldwide.

Recusal, on the other hand, is what one is supposed to do when there is a conflict of interests. Ideally, even if it's only the appearance of such.
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bnjtokyo
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Re: Abstain

Postby bnjtokyo » Wed Aug 17, 2022 7:39 pm

Would any of our colleagues in the Antipodes care to comment? I believe voting is compulsory and abstention will result in a fine in Oz.

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Re: Abstain

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Aug 17, 2022 10:02 pm

Remember, my example did not refer to voting in elections, but voting in Congress or state or local legislature on bill where conflict of interest is involved.
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Re: Abstain

Postby David Myer » Thu Aug 18, 2022 5:37 am

The Good Doctor has indicated that his reference was not to voting in elections, but bnjtokyo's suggestion that in Australia, we are fined (a modest amount) for not voting in Federal, state or even municipal elections. Voting is compulsory for all of them. In the event though, I believe even flimsy excuses are enough to get you off the fine. But as Slava has suggested (I think) we do have a sort of moral duty to participate in the democratic process.

Abstinence from alcohol or sex is another matter. Both are very good practices for other people.

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Re: Abstain

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Aug 19, 2022 4:33 pm

David, I also abstain. Alcoholic beverages do much more harm than good. On the other item, I am too old to cut the mustard.
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