addiction

noun
ad·​dic·​tion | \ ə-ˈdik-shən How to pronounce addiction (audio) , a- \

Definition of addiction

1 : a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence : the state of being addicted alcohol addiction an addiction to prescription painkillers drug addictions gambling addiction
2 : a strong inclination to do, use, or indulge in something repeatedly But those who know him well say he isn't driven by politics as much as his addiction to breaking news.— Amanda Ripley If we do not find the courage to kick our fossil fuel addiction and transition to clean energy, we will warm the atmosphere to the extent that areas typically covered in white all winter long could see only sporadic snow.— Steven Nyman

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for addiction

Synonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of addiction in a Sentence

He has a drug addiction. His life has been ruined by heroin addiction. He devotes his summers to his surfing addiction.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Scientists are rediscovering what many see as the substances’ astonishing therapeutic potential for a vast range of issues, from depression to drug addiction and acceptance of mortality. Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, "Johns Hopkins Scientists Give Psychedelics the Serious Treatment," 16 Jan. 2020 The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday announced a ban on flavored e-cigarettes in an ostensible effort to thread the needle between preventing youth nicotine addiction and promoting adult tobacco cessation. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Thank You for Not Vaping," 2 Jan. 2020 The unending stream of narcotics has contributed to this country’s unprecedented addiction crisis, devastating families and killing more than 300,000 people since 2013. Beth Warren, courier-journal.com, "A ruthless Mexican drug lord’s empire is devastating families with its grip on small-town USA," 25 Nov. 2019 The opioid addiction crisis that's killed or otherwise sickened millions of Americans has galvanized significant backlash. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "OxyContin’s Maker Is Still Flourishing In China," 20 Nov. 2019 Another driver is the nation's opioid addiction crisis, with its roots in overuse of prescription painkillers. Carla K. Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "US awards $3M to fill gaps in medical marijuana research," 23 Sep. 2019 The 19 members of an Opioid Advisory Council were finalized Wednesday ahead of the groups first meeting next week to begin to address the state’s opioid addiction crisis. Christopher Magan, Twin Cities, "Opioid task force finalized; group to determine how to spend $20M to respond to crisis," 18 Sep. 2019 Imus battled a lifelong addiction to drugs and alcohol. Duane Byrge, Billboard, "Don Imus, Legendary Radio personality, Dies at 79," 27 Dec. 2019 The circuit itself could also represent a new treatment target, but the exact human anatomy is unclear, Dalley notes—and addiction is more complex than a single mechanism. Simon Makin, Scientific American, "Scientists Spot Addiction-Associated Circuit in Rats," 23 Dec. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of addiction

circa 1532, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for addiction

earlier, "inclination, bent," in part derivative of addict entry 2, in part borrowed from Latin addictiōn-, addictiō "adjudging (of disputed property), assignment of a debtor to the custody of his creditor," from addīcere "to assign (property), hand over, give up to" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of action nouns — more at addict entry 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about addiction

Time Traveler for addiction

Time Traveler

The first known use of addiction was circa 1532

See more words from the same year

Statistics for addiction

Last Updated

22 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Addiction.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/addiction. Accessed 22 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for addiction

addiction

noun
How to pronounce addiction (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of addiction

: a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble)
: an unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something

addiction

noun
ad·​dic·​tion | \ ə-ˈdik-shən How to pronounce addiction (audio) \

Medical Definition of addiction

: a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence : the state of being addicted alcohol addiction an addiction to prescription painkillers drug addictions gambling addiction/it}

addiction

noun
ad·​dic·​tion | \ ə-ˈdik-shən How to pronounce addiction (audio) \

Legal Definition of addiction

: compulsive physiological need for a habit-forming drug (as heroin)

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on addiction

What made you want to look up addiction? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to help to grow, develop, or succeed

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!