Abstinence vs Fast

Abstinence and fast are the words that confuse many of us. Their meaning is almost the same, but usage is not the same.

Quick look

Abstinence is used for any object.
Abstinence from food, sex, alcohol, or any other things.
Fast is applicable to food only. If someone fast, he/she doesn't eat food.

    What is the meaning of Fast?

    As a verb, fast means to eat little or no food for a period of time, especially for religious or health reasons.

    • We should fast once in a week.

    As a noun, fast means a period of time when you don't eat any or little food.

    • After my father, my mom went on a fast.

    Other meanings of Fast:

    As an adverb, it means with very quickly. It can also be used an adjective meaning moving or able to move quickly.

    What is the meaning of Abstinence?

    Abstinence is a noun. It means the practice of not allowing yourself something, especially food, alcoholic drink or sex, for moral, religious or health reasons.

    • Practicing self-control is what we call abstinence.
    • I am practicing abstinence from alcohol and sex.
    • I only properly break my abstinence once during the month.

    What is the difference between abstinence and fast?

    The only difference between them is that abstinence can be used for any object, but Fast is used for Food only. You can write abstinence from food, abstinence from alcohol, abstinence from party, abstinence from sex, abstinence from girl and so forth.

    Fast signifies abstinence from food; it doesn't mean away from any particular food. If we want to signify any particular food, we should use abstinence, for example, abstinence from pizza- it means not eating pizza only; abstinence from alcohol means not drinking any type of alcohol. 

    How to memorize the difference between abstinence and fast?

    We can connect Fast with Food as both have F.
     Abstinence comes from ab- "away from" and tenere - "hold". Tenet, tenant, and tent origin from the same source "tenere". All them means hold. So abstinence means going away from something that you held.

    Other way you can learn abstinence. If you look at abstinence, you see abs in front of the word. Now here is the mnemonic: If you want abs, you need total abstinence from bad habits.

              Abs comes from abstinence.


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