Saturday, August 21, 2010

Abstemious or Temulent?

Kathy from Martinsburg, West Virginia, recently came across a word new to her. The word is abstemious, and it refers to temperate use of food and drink. It requires self-control, and later it was extended to habits and lifestyles that range beyond the table. It came from the Latin, where ab- signified “away from,” and temetum meant intoxicating liquor.

The only other word that I have found containing the same root is temulent, now rarely used. It meant drunken or intoxicated. 17th century variations were temulently, temulentness, temulentious, and temulentive.

Shifting beverages, a related word is vinolent, addicted to wine. Charles Wheelwright translated a line from Aristophanes as, “. . .the vinolent propensity of the Athenian females.” Happy hour in the agora, polloi!

Available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

Check out Mike's program-based books here:
Arbutus Press
or at

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to and clicking on Listen Now.

There is a collection of podcasts. Go to and click on Podcasts. Scroll down The Ron Jolly Show to find the Words to the Wise audio button.

Visit The Senior Corner at

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Dona Sheehan's prints