in·​dul·​gence | \ in-ˈdəl-jən(t)s How to pronounce indulgence (audio) \

Definition of indulgence

1a : the act of indulging in something especially : self-indulgence
b : something indulged in walk off gastronomic indulgences— Barbara L. Michaels
2a : an indulgent act
b : an extension of time for payment or performance granted as a favor
3 : the act of indulging : the state of being indulgent
4 : remission of part or all of the temporal and especially purgatorial punishment that according to Roman Catholicism is due for sins whose eternal punishment has been remitted and whose guilt has been pardoned (as through the sacrament of reconciliation)

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Examples of indulgence in a Sentence

She lived a life of selfish indulgence. his indulgence in forbidden pleasures She found that she couldn't afford the indulgences she had once enjoyed. For our anniversary we allowed ourselves the indulgence of an elegant dinner at our favorite restaurant. Good food is my only indulgence.
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Recent Examples on the Web These truffles skip the usual sugar and cream in favor of dates and nuts for a more heart-healthy indulgence. Paul Stephen,, "Recipe: Chocolate Almond Date Truffles," 5 Feb. 2020 With up to 50,000 visitors to the monthlong home show, the Street of Dreams became legendary for buzz-worthy indulgences. oregonlive, "Some of the last decade’s excessive design and decor stays: You’ll see more farmhouses, midcentury moderns and dwellings for multi-generations," 2 Jan. 2020 Keto Chili Cheese Dogs Ready for the ultimate keto indulgence? Christina Oehler,, "5 Bean-Free Keto Chili Recipes Pinterest Is Obsessed With," 27 Sep. 2019 For sheer indulgence, pair the fried chicken with cornmeal pancakes at brunch. Bill Addison, Los Angeles Times, "The L.A. food scene is amazing. These 7 restaurants remind us why," 1 Aug. 2019 Two years after his appointment as prior, Vos managed to obtain from the presiding bishop permission for indulgences to be granted to those who would utter prayers in front of the painting on the prior’s behalf. Peter Plagens, WSJ, "‘The Charterhouse of Bruges: Jan van Eyck, Petrus Christus and Jan Vos’ Review: Preparing for the End," 26 Sep. 2018 Why yes, that is 12 cheeses for 12 days, perfectly timed for optimal indulgence on a yacht. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Fashion Designer Hubert de Givenchy Was the Ultimate Cheese Enthusiast," 16 Aug. 2018 While some still abide by a strict version of the fast on Fridays during Lent, many instead choose to give up indulgences like alcohol and social media. Nina Strochlic, National Geographic, "The meaning of the cross of ashes on Ash Wednesday," 26 Feb. 2020 Perhaps that indulgence will change once the first person sneezes on a $145 steak, but, for now, peep away. Soleil Ho,, "Perry Lang’s in Yountville is a clubby meat palace with a throwback vibe," 20 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'indulgence.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of indulgence

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

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Time Traveler for indulgence

Time Traveler

The first known use of indulgence was in the 14th century

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Statistics for indulgence

Last Updated

21 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Indulgence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for indulgence


How to pronounce indulgence (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of indulgence

: the behavior or attitude of people who allow themselves to do what they want or who allow other people to do what they want
: the act of doing something that you enjoy but that is usually thought of as wrong or unhealthy
: something that is done or enjoyed as a special pleasure


in·​dul·​gence | \ in-ˈdəl-jəns How to pronounce indulgence (audio) \

Kids Definition of indulgence

1 : the practice of allowing enjoyment of whatever is desired He lives a life of indulgence.
2 : an act of doing what is desired She regretted her indulgence in new clothes.
3 : something that a person enjoys or desires Chocolate is an indulgence.

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