from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Self-restraint; moderation.
  • n. Voluntary control over urinary and fecal discharge.
  • n. Partial or complete abstention from sexual activity. See Synonyms at abstinence.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The voluntary control of urination and defecation.
  • n. Moderation or self-restraint, especially in sexual activity; abstinence.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Self-restraint; self-command.
  • n. The restraint which a person imposes upon his desires and passions; the act or power of refraining from indulgence of the sexual appetite, esp. from unlawful indulgence; sometimes, moderation in sexual indulgence.
  • n. Uninterrupted course; continuity.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In general, self-restraint with regard to desires and passions; self-command.
  • n. In a special sense, the restraint of the sexual passion within due bounds, whether absolute, as in celibacy, or within lawful limits, as in marriage; chastity.
  • n. Capacity for holding or containing: as, a measure which has only one half the continence of another. Continuity; uninterrupted course.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. voluntary control over urinary and fecal discharge
  • n. the exercise of self constraint in sexual matters


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Dated from the 14th Century CE; from Old French continence, from Latin continentia ("a repression").



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  • "Give me chastity and continence, but not yet." -- St. Augustine

    March 2, 2009