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This page was listed on Wikipedia:Votes for deletion in May, 2004. The result of that discussion was to keep the article. For an archive of the discussion, see Talk:Teetotalism/Delete.


"In Nova Scotia and Dallas Texas, as well as among those who are from those places, it is commonly spelled "tea-totaller"" I'm in Ireland, and I've never heard of this variant. The usages I am familiar with are invariably 'teetotaller.' Don't know about Nova Scotia. Arrogant Papist 14:05, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Nova Scotian who's never heard of it used that way checking in (and I *am* a teetotaler). 23:18, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
4 years of living in Ireland, never heard of it. I'm going to be bold and get rid of it -- (talk) 21:34, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Why no mention or redirects of/from Teatotal... or tea-total... ? Jidanni (talk) 23:03, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Not to resurrect an old conversation, but the only references I've found to "teatotallers" are tongue-in-cheek plays on words that reference taxes on tea. See, for example, Cooke, George Wingrove (1861). China and Lower Bengal: Being "The Times" Correspondence from China, 1857-58. London: Routledge, Warne, & Routledge. p. 272.  --Mûĸĸâĸûĸâĸû (blah?) 23:17, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

As a Derogatory Term?[edit]

When I abstained from drink for a while, I rejected and resented the term "teetotaller" as derogatory slang. A common retort that was used among my abstaining friends (who also all hated the term) was "there isn't a stupid sounding name for people who don't drink orange juice is there?".

We basically felt that the name has a mocking ring to it, and was generally inappropriate. Although I eventually gave up abstainance, I still dislike the term.--Badharlick 02:28, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

I've been told/have read either; it’s derogatory or it's not. As a staunch teetotaler, I've never really found it offensive. I can think of at least one instance when someone tried to phrase it to be derogatory.
Having said all that, I'm not sure what other term there is to use. Total abstainer was common in the 19th century, though I believe the term takes on a different connotation now.

I have told my friends I am tee-total, and then been mocked for drinking a Coke. They seem to be under the impression that it means only fruit juices, water and tea. I was under the impression that it simply meant you did not drink alcohol at all. And I don't see why it would be considered a derogatory term in either sense.

There is a feeling among some people who do drink that those who do not are missing out on something and are exhibiting a "holier than thou" attitude. This could lead to using the term "teetotaler" in a derogatory manner. Kind of like some people use the term "virgin" in a derogatory manner. Not that I agree with such an attitude, drink or not, it's your choice.Wschart (talk) 17:41, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

Anyone have an explanation for the C. S. Lewis thing? Didn't spot a reference to it in his entry, and seems... odd and rather irrelevant. I imagine many famouse people didn't like teetotallers either, but why C. S. Lewis? The list should be expanded or removed.

In one of his Narnia novel's (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, I believe, Lewis makes some snarky comments about teetotallers (the parents of Eustace Scrubb). I agree with the removal of the comment, however, as it would seem to be merely a feeble joke. — Grstain 17:17, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Reverting to version with Frank Sinatra quote. It's not offensive. It contributes to the article's NPOV because it shows criticism of Teetotalism.

No it's POV. It's not criticism of teetotalism, it's a poor joke which you wouldn't see in an encyclopedia article on teetotalism. This IS an encyclopedia article about teetotalism, so I remove it.

The anecdote about the origin of the word is also poor encyclopedia material. The correct answer is reduplication. Repeating the first letter of a word was a common way to emphasise in that time and place, and T-total has also been found to be used in other contexts. The stuttering theory seems unlikely to me. A stutterer would rather say tuh-tuh-total or something like it; that the letter t is pronounced "tee" is a cultural thing.

Vintermann 10:34, May 23, 2005 (UTC)

Can anyone substantiate the claim that "a nephalist is a teetotaler who denies it" (added by User: on March 10)? According to both Webster 1913 and the current edition of OED, nephalism is just a synonym for teetotalism. —Caesura(t) 20:03, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

I notice that the article ascribes teetotalism strictly as a consequence of health, moral, or other gnostic reasoning. It omits simple aversion. Genericdefect (talk) 20:32, 7 January 2008 (UTC)


The origin section needs rewriting. OED does mention Turner, but certainly doesn't mention stammering! And apparently there's an 1832 cite for "tee-totally" in the US meaning "completely totally" Morwen - Talk 13:22, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

  • The last paragraph ("U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes was [...]") under this heading should be moved elsewhere, because it is irrelevant to the word's etymology. --Rfsmit (talk) 16:43, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

I did some research, and found credible evidence that the word "Teetotal" was used as early as 1774 to mean someone averse to alcohol, so it seems all the theories are wrong, or at least misdated. (See Crookes, Sir William (1774). The Chemical News and Journal of Industrial Science; with which is Incorporated the "Chemical Gazette.": A Journal of Practical Chemistry in All Its Applications to Pharmacy, Arts and Manufactures. Chemical news office. ) --Jacob J. Walker (talk) 21:36, 26 October 2013 (UTC)


Just curious if anyone has some good teetotaler sites.

BTW, the one external links is beyond POV. It's part of pretty well known pro-booze propaganda site. What's next, a link to Modern Drunkard Magazine? It should be dumped.

It's been reworked.

Famous Teetotallers[edit]

Is there any reason why Ken Jennings is the only person listed as a famous teetotaller on this page? Surely there are more than just him (the category American Teetotallers must give at least a few ideas...GWB comes to mind...)

There should definitely be more Mormons. On the other hand, is Mr. T a Teetoller or did somebody just put him there because his name is Mr T?

Why is there a list here at all? They're already is a list. In fact, it's in the "see also" section. This is totally redundant.
Removed, and replaced with reference to List of teetotalers. Grstain | Talk 13:55, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

While I can count on one hand the number of alcoholic drinks I've consumed in the last decade or so, I'd hardly characterize myself as a teetotalar. I may be famous, but I don't advocate the prohibition of alcoholic drinks. Therefore, I fail to see how I'm a 'famous teetotalar'. (Gene Simmons) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:21, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

Mr. T[edit]

Does the term originate in Mr. T? (Which is a famous T-totaler) 20:55, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

I haven't the foggiest, but I believe the gent's last name is Tureaud. It's likely based upon that rather than being an abstainer. 16:48, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

The term was long in use before Mr. T. Wschart (talk) 17:36, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

India Norm?[edit]

This is very doubtful: "In India, teetotalism is often the norm in middle class society". Needs a cite. Amit@Talk 11:59, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

Alcohol Allergy[edit]

I don't know about an immune response to alcohol. Does anybody have a reference for this?Desoto10 (talk) 02:17, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Try this: (talk) 19:10, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Religious Reasons[edit]

Anyone know religions that prohibit alcohol? I think Islam does, and certian Christian denomations, such as Baptist encourage teetotalism. Rds865 (talk) 01:02, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

Bahá'ís, Brahmins, Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Hare Krishnas, Muslims, Seventh-day Adventists, and Sikhs generally do not drink based upon their religious faiths. Quite a few Protestant sects (e.g. Baptist, Friends (Quakers), Methodists, Mennonites, and members of the Salvation Army) have historically taken a strong stance against drinking. There is a Wiki article on the topic of Christianity and alcohol should you be interested: Christianity_and_alcohol (talk) 22:02, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
and Buddhists - abstaining from intoxicants/intoxication (reading depends on individual) is one of the five precepts. (talk) 19:11, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Merge from sobriety[edit]

Both deal with the same thing, that is, abstinence from alcoholic beverages, but with a note that the concept also may be expanded to other forms. A mention of the use of the term sobriety in this article should be enough. Mikael Häggström (talk) 16:07, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

I'd like to see them remain separate articles. Per the definition, one can be sober and still not a teetotaler. What about merging sobriety into the abstinence article? Just a thought. Surv1v4l1st (Talk|Contribs) 19:15, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

See also[edit]

The article recently had some general clean up done. A number of extraneous internal and external links were rightly removed. I did, however, add a handful of 'See also' items back as I believe that they historically and culturally have a strong relation to the subject at hand. Just thought I'd leave a note to explain the reason. Surv1v4l1st (Talk|Contribs) 22:27, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

Notable Teetotalers[edit]

The list includes "Batman's secret identity, Bruce Wayne" as a notable teetotaler. I'm wondering first if it makes sense having a fictional character listed here. Since attention is occasionally paid in various media to Batman's teetotalism, I think it makes sense, but we should change the wording. Batman (and secretly Bruce Wayne) is a teetotaler, but publicly, Bruce Wayne is a lush. In-universe, Bruce Wayne is anything but a "notable teetotaler," even if the reader/viewer knows that he is. I guess I'm saying it's more complicated than the list makes it seem, and may make more sense to remove altogether, since he's not a real person in the first place.

Also, why the random groupings of some teetotalers under a single bullet point? I see no logic to listing a former cricketer and the French Minister of Economic Affairs together. It gives the list a kind of absurdity that, while funny, is not encyclopedic. Actually, I'll go ahead and split those up myself. Let me know if they look alright—I'm new to wikipedia. Salvador Dolly (talk) 00:29, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

James Hetfield?[edit]

James is a reformed alcoholic. Does it count? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:12, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

I am unsure if this is appropriate in this case; Hetfield is more likely to state that he is in "recovery".--Soulparadox (talk) 06:42, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

Temperance Movement article merge proposal[edit]

The suggestion seems reasonable to me; is there any update on this matter or any other thoughts?--Soulparadox (talk) 06:43, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

Oppose Teetotalism is not the same as the whole temperance movement. This was a specific (if very strong) element within it, focussed on personal behaviour (rather than state regulation) and calling for total abstinence rather than drinking in moderation or avoiding hard spirits. JASpencer (talk) 22:21, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

I also oppose the merge: I am teetotal, but more for health reasons than anything else. The temperance movement seems to me to be strongly associated with a desire to change legislation and/or other people's behaviour, whereas I have little intentions to change society, it's just a choice like choosing to play (or not to play) a sport. I could go on, but the gist of it is that I imagine most people who are teetotal are not strong advocates of the temperance movement. (3 June 2013) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:29, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

Oppose They are not the same thing at all. Temperance is a social and ideological movement, while Teetotalism is an individual choice. Likewise not all supporters of temperance are teetotalers, many temperance supporters advocate for moderation and responsible usage, not complete abstinence. Mediatech492 (talk) 18:22, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

Removing tag. Clear consensus and (more than) enough time given for review. Sulfurboy (talk) 11:47, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

Aren't Baptists teetotalers?[edit]

I seem to remember from my youth that our Baptist (a Protestant denomination) church always preached heavily against any form of alcohol whatsoever and selling it was certainly out of the question. So perhaps Baptism should be included in the 'Notable teetotalers' section? (talk) 13:27, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

Some baptist denominations strongly encourage abstinence from alcohol, but it is not a doctrinal requirement. Mediatech492 (talk) 13:33, 30 May 2013 (UTC)


The Synonyms section really needs some help. I removed the gallows origin of "on the wagon" as it is thoroughly debunked at -- Pemilligan (talk) 18:55, 17 November 2013 (UTC)