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Temperance vs Sobriety vs Abstinence vs Abstemiousness vs Continence

Temperance, sobrietyabstinenceabstemiousnesscontinence can all mean self-restraint in the gratification of appetites or passions.

In its more general sense temperance implies simply habitual moderation and the exercise of judgment. But temperance may be used specifically in reference to the use of intoxicating beverages and then tends to imply not merely moderation but abstention; thus, a temperance hotel is one where no intoxicating liquors are sold or served.

Sobriety , like temperance , suggests avoidance of excess not only in drinking, but also in thought or action. Often it connotes the idea of seriousness or of avoidance of ostentation.

Abstinence implies voluntary deprivation.

Abstemiousness and its much commoner adjective abstemious suggest habitual self-restraint, moderation, or frugality especially in eating or drinking.

Continence emphasizes self-restraint in regard to one’s impulses or desires. In its specific sense it stresses self-restraint in sexual indulgence.

Sometimes it implies chastity or complete abstention; often, when referred to husband and wife, it implies avoidance of undue indulgence.