alcoholism

noun
al·​co·​hol·​ism | \ ˈal-kə-ˌhȯ-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce alcoholism (audio) , -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

Ed Rogers, Muller’s boyfriend, told ABC7NY the 54-year-old suffered from alcoholism and delusions. Katherine Lam, Fox News, "Knife-wielding woman killed by New York City police had 'history of calls' to her home, officials say," 19 Sep. 2018 The perfect way to drink two litres of wine during a dinner party without anyone ever knowing; the opaque vessel that could hide our alcoholism. SI.com, "90min's Definitive European Power Rankings: Week 4," 6 Sep. 2019 De Mathew was a great composer of Kikuyu lyrics, which carried undertones of societal ills, including alcoholism and promoting peace and cohesion in society. Bukola Adebayo And Kagweni Micheni, CNN, "Kenyan musician John De' Mathew dies in car crash," 19 Aug. 2019 Some people see drunkenness and understand it as a character defect; others see alcoholism and understand it as a disease — in either case, the diagnosis is the same: Stop drinking two liters of bourbon a day. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "What Noah Smith Gets Wrong about Poverty," 31 July 2019 Tate is at the start of a promising career, while Dalton faces stagnation in his own, facilitated by his alcoholism. Alejandro De La Garza, Time, "The True Story Behind Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood," 26 July 2019 Read more: Your mother is choosing not to deal with her alcoholism. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "Tired child feels forced to care for abusive mom," 22 July 2019 There’s something about Jane being deep into her alcoholism and at the same time showing up for people who have the plague in a way that nobody else can. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "Big Little Lies’ Robin Weigert Will See You Now," 21 July 2019 Nutritional optic neuropathy, which Atan said is more frequently caused by malabsorption, certain medications and alcoholism, is a dysfunction in the optic nerve. Deanna Paul, Twin Cities, "UK teen is legally blind after 7-year diet of french fries, white bread and ham slices, doctors say," 5 Sep. 2019

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

Statistics for alcoholism

Last Updated

19 Oct 2019

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 How to pronounce alcoholism (audio) \

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- How to pronounce alcoholism (audio) \

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 be made up of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
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!