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

Thankfully there have been some (but too few) legislative bipartisan bright-spots on issues such as workforce development (Perkins CTE) + combatting opioid addiction and human trafficking., "What Ivanka Did This Week: Pavers, Protests & Paid Family Leave," 13 July 2018 Joe was a leader in the field of addiction and behavioral health services in Connecticut for almost 40 years., "Joseph James Sullivan," 12 July 2018 Supporters say a positive side effect is its potential to ease opioid addiction and lethal overdoses among veterans. Patrik Jonsson, The Christian Science Monitor, "As war vets enter the fray, stigma lessens around cannabis," 5 July 2018 And my mother, not even 30 and already in the snares of schizophrenia and addiction and three kids at war with each other, with themselves, Levy pounding on me, depression already like a noose around my neck. Longreads, "La Otra," 26 June 2018 The company has been blamed for helping fuel addiction and opioid overdose deaths. NBC News, "Drug spoon sculpture placed outside drugmaker Purdue Pharma's headquarters," 23 June 2018 Like him, many other veterans across the country were struggling with addiction and lacking help from the Veterans Administration, which didn't have decent programs for vets back then, Clark said. Melinda Morris,, "Louisiana soldier killed during training in Texas is laid to rest: report," 28 May 2018 People struggling with addiction and depression are disconnected from the world and from other people. Sean Illing, Vox, "Why psychedelic drugs could transform how we treat depression and mental illness," 21 May 2018 These guys use the language of addiction and obsession in their posts about these rare feathers. National Geographic, "One Obsessed Musician, 299 Birds, and a Very Weird Crime," 19 May 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

1 Oct 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).


not any or not one

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