Teetotalism

From Academic Kids

Teetotalism is the principle or practice of complete abstinence from alcoholic beverages. A person who practices this is a teetotaler.

One anecdote attributes the origin of the word to a meeting of the Preston Temperance Society in May 1832. This society was founded by Joseph Livesey, who was to become a leader of the Temperance movement and the author of The Pledge – 'We agree to abstain from all liquors of an intoxicating quality whether ale, porter, wine or ardent spirits, except as medicine.' The story attributes the word to Dickie Turner, a member of the society, who had a stammer, and in a speech said that nothing would do but 'tee-tee-total abstinence.'

A more likely explanation is that teetotal is simply a reduplication of 'total.' In England in the 1830s, when the word first appeared, it was also used in other contexts as an emphasised form of 'total.'

A nephalist is a teetotaler who denies it.

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