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, jones [slang], monkey

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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

This is similar to what’s happened in the alcohol and tobacco industries, where companies make much of their profits from users with serious addiction issues. German Lopez, Vox, "The case against marijuana legalization," 14 Nov. 2018 There are the obvious challenges, of course—service injuries, post-traumatic stress, drug addiction, homelessness—but many veterans return to the U.S. ready and able to begin productive post-service lives, only to run into problems securing a job. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "Thank You For Your Service. Now What?," 17 Oct. 2018 This suggests that our perceptions of our lives determine not only our risk of addiction, overdose, and chronic disease, but also our biological age. Clay Marsh, STAT, "Facing deaths of despair from the depths of despair in West Virginia," 12 July 2018 An addiction to making people laugh and a craving for love? Peter Keough,, "Doc Talk: A sad clown and a happy collector," 12 July 2018 Getting children off to the right start pays off, reducing juvenile delinquency, addictions, school dropout rates, learning disabilities, obesity and other problems. kansascity, "Jean Paul Bradshaw," 30 June 2018 Esposito’s brother, who has struggled with addiction for 14 years, is one such person. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "A Gallery Owner Was Arrested After Leaving a 10-Foot Heroin Spoon Sculpture Outside OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma," 24 June 2018 Politicians, parents' groups, and the media have long blamed them for all sorts of societal problems—addiction, violence, bullying, the list goes on. Ryan Smith, Chicago Reader, "News / Technology / The Internet Video games are public enemy #1 . . . again," 19 June 2018 In Asia, a center of video game activity and addiction, rehabilitation centers designed to stamp out uncontrollable playing have existed for years. Anchorage Daily News, "Video game addiction tries to move from basement to doctor's office," 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

10 Dec 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).


a nest or breeding place

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