alcoholism

noun
al·​co·​hol·​ism | \ˈal-kə-ˌhȯ-ˌli-zəm, -kə-hə-\

Definition of alcoholism 

1 : continued excessive or compulsive use of alcoholic drinks

2a : a chronic, a progressive, potentially fatal disorder marked by excessive and usually compulsive drinking of alcohol leading to psychological and physical dependence or addiction

Note: Alcoholism is typically characterized by the inability to control alcoholic drinking, impairment of the ability to work and socialize, tendency to drink alone and engage in violent behavior, neglect of physical appearance and proper nutrition, alcohol-related illness (such as hepatitis or cirrhosis of the liver), and moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms (such as irritability, anxiety, tremors, insomnia, and confusion) upon detoxification.

b : acute alcohol poisoning resulting from the usually rapid consumption of excessive alcoholic beverages

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for alcoholism

Synonyms

drunkenness, insobriety, intemperance, intemperateness

Antonyms

sobriety, temperance

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of alcoholism in a Sentence

a treatment center for those suffering from alcoholism

Recent Examples on the Web

The story of Ed Orgeron has been told—a fiery Cajun man who battled alcoholism in his younger days, who motivates players in the wildest ways and who inexplicably, some might say, landed his dream job 19 months ago. Ross Dellenger, SI.com, "The Never-Before-Told Story of Kelly Orgeron, Colorful Wife of LSU's Colorful Head Coach," 2 July 2018 The film is based on Stephen King's 2013 novel of the same name, which follows Danny Torrance, now an adult and battling alcoholism and dealing with the trauma of what happened to him as a child in a certain haunted Colorado hotel. Pamela Mcclintock, The Hollywood Reporter, "Mark Wahlberg's 'Six Billion Dollar Man' Pushed Back a Year to 2020," 23 May 2018 In her 10 years on television, Murphy Brown shattered glass ceilings, battled alcoholism and breast cancer, and earned the ire of a real-world vice president for her decision to become a single mother. Rebecca Keegan, HWD, "They’re Back! Murphy Brown and Cagney & Lacey Return to the Small Screen in the #MeToo Era," 30 Mar. 2018 Faux bullet holes, cigars and cigarettes suggest a drunken party’s aftermath and allude to the crisis of alcoholism and violence on reservations. George Fishman, miamiherald, "Monarchs ‘Brown and Native’ butterfly exhibit a response to contemporary events," 13 July 2018 The Melbourne projects aim to help find solutions to the city's expanding urban sprawl, worsening traffic congestion, and growing social isolation – all of which can contribute to problems like alcoholism and domestic violence. Michael Taylor, The Christian Science Monitor, "Won't you be my neighbor: Melbourne experiments with community-led housing," 11 July 2018 My father has to live a life of abuse, of alcoholism and mental illness. Yunuen Alvarado Bustos, Marie Claire, "If Trump's Child Detention Centers Had Existed in 2006, I'd Have Been in a Cage," 21 June 2018 Taking place in New York City, Wesley plays Eddie, a bartender, drug dealer, and thief who also deals with alcoholism and drug abuse. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "The Vampire Diaries Star Paul Wesley is Finally Returning to TV," 13 June 2018 After recovering from alcoholism and a heart attack, Lord, a retired furniture upholsterer, today lives openly as a trans woman in senior housing in Braintree. Robert Weisman, BostonGlobe.com, "Gay boomers look ahead to an old age colored by uncertainty and the help of friends," 9 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alcoholism.' 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 alcoholism

1848, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about alcoholism

Share alcoholism

Statistics for alcoholism

Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for alcoholism

The first known use of alcoholism was in 1848

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for alcoholism

alcoholism

noun

English Language Learners Definition of alcoholism

: a medical condition in which someone frequently drinks too much alcohol and becomes unable to live a normal and healthy life

alcoholism

noun
al·​co·​hol·​ism | \ˈal-kə-ˌhȯ-ˌliz-əm \

Kids Definition of alcoholism

: continued, uncontrolled, and greater than normal use of alcoholic drinks accompanied by physical and mental dependence on alcohol

alcoholism

noun
al·​co·​hol·​ism | \ˈal-kə-ˌhȯ-ˌliz-əm, -kə-hə- \

Medical Definition of alcoholism 

1 : continued excessive or compulsive use of alcoholic drinks

2 : a chronic, progressive, potentially fatal disorder marked by excessive and usually compulsive drinking of alcohol leading to psychological and physical dependence or addiction

Note: Alcoholism is typically characterized by the inability to control alcoholic drinking, impairment of the ability to work and socialize, tendency to drink alone and engage in violent behavior, neglect of physical appearance and proper nutrition, alcohol-related illness (such as hepatitis or cirrhosis of the liver), and moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms (such as irritability, anxiety, tremors, insomnia, and confusion) upon detoxification.

— compare acute alcoholism

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on alcoholism

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to clear from alleged fault or guilt

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!