ad·dic·tion | \ ə-ˈdik-shən , a- \

Definition of addiction 

1 : the quality or state of being addicted addiction to reading

2 : compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (such as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful

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Synonyms for addiction


dependence (also dependance), habit

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

But despite the criticisms, Celmatix is moving forward with its research and efforts to capture the attention of a generation best known for its crippling student loan debt and gram-worthy avocado addictions. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "This Company Wants Your Fertility Data," 13 July 2018 As my political rage peaked, so did my addiction to my phone. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Change Your Life, One Bad Phone Habit at a Time," 5 July 2018 When Jamison moves to New Haven to begin graduate school, her addiction to alcohol deepens. Daphne Merkin, The New Republic, "How Leslie Jamison rejected the link between creativity and alcoholism," 5 July 2018 Don't, however, discuss your former addiction in detail. Anchorage Daily News, "My addiction made me a terrible employee. I’m in recovery – but how can I find a new job with such poor references?," 1 July 2018 Use of trusty skincare products can help your skin fight the visible effects of your late screen addiction! Audrey Noble, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Surprising Thing Damaging The Look of Your Skin," 28 June 2018 Privacy advocates have raised concern that the measure could discourage addicts from seeking treatment for fear of retaliation if their addiction is leaked to law enforcement. NBC News, "House passes massive package to address opioids crisis," 22 June 2018 Esposito was inspired to create the artwork by his brother’s drug addiction. Susan Dunne,, "Gallerist Arrested After Dropping Sculpture Of Giant Drug Spoon At Purdue Pharma," 22 June 2018 Viewers often describe their addictions to these highly dramatic TV serials on Bravo as a guilty pleasure. Garrett Mitchell, azcentral, "Indulge your 'Real Housewives' guilty pleasure at 'Watch What Crappens Live' in Phoenix," 18 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of addiction

circa 1532, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for addiction

earlier, "inclination, bent," in part derivative of addict entry 1, 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 1

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Learn More about addiction

Dictionary Entries near addiction







adding machine

Statistics for addiction

Last Updated

17 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for addiction

The first known use of addiction was circa 1532

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More Definitions for addiction



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


ad·dic·tion | \ ə-ˈdik-shən \

Medical Definition of addiction 

: compulsive physiological need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be physically, psychologically, or socially harmful — compare habituation


ad·dic·tion | \ ə-ˈdik-shən \

Legal Definition of addiction 

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

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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).


the setting in which something occurs

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