Teetotalism is the principle or practice of complete abstinence from alcoholic beverages. A person who practices this is a teetotaler.
One account of the origin of the word attributes its origin 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." The phrase stuck.
Other suggestions are that the word may have originated from the practice of putting a "T" next to one's name to indicate total abstinence; or it may have indicated drinking nothing stronger than tea; or it may simply be a reduplication of "total".
Frank Sinatra once said of teetotalers, "They wake up in the morning and that's the best they're going to feel all day."
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