chronic

adjective

chron·​ic ˈkrä-nik How to pronounce chronic (audio)
1
a
: continuing or occurring again and again for a long time
chronic indigestion
chronic experiments
b
: suffering from a chronic disease
the special needs of chronic patients
2
a
: always present or encountered
especially : constantly vexing, weakening, or troubling
chronic petty warfare
chronic meddling in one another's domestic affairs Amatzia Baram
b
: being such habitually
a chronic grumbler
chronic noun
chronically adverb
chronicity noun

Did you know?

Chronic coughing goes on and on; chronic lateness occurs day after day; chronic lameness never seems to get any better. Unfortunately, situations that we call chronic almost always seem to be unpleasant. We never hear about chronic peace, but we do hear about chronic warfare. And we never speak of chronic health, only of chronic illness.

Choose the Right Synonym for chronic

inveterate, confirmed, chronic mean firmly established.

inveterate applies to a habit, attitude, or feeling of such long existence as to be practically ineradicable or unalterable.

an inveterate smoker

confirmed implies a growing stronger and firmer with time so as to resist change or reform.

a confirmed bachelor

chronic suggests something that is persistent or endlessly recurrent and troublesome.

a chronic complainer

Example Sentences

He suffers from chronic arthritis. a chronic need for attention Inflation has become a chronic condition in the economy. Don't bother seeing that film—it's chronic.
Recent Examples on the Web Secondly, about 40 percent of individuals are newly diagnosed with a chronic condition while they’re incarcerated. Ambar Castillo, STAT, 23 Nov. 2022 This is Alice Williams’ experience with endometriosis, a chronic condition that affects one in 10 Australians who menstruate. Maggie Zhou, refinery29.com, 22 Nov. 2022 The hens were experiencing a flare-up of a chronic respiratory condition, said Sasha Prasad-Shreckengast, the sanctuary’s manager of research and animal welfare, who was preparing to enter the chicken pen. Emily Anthes Lauren Petracca, New York Times, 22 Nov. 2022 Type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune condition in which the pancreas does not produce insulin, the vital hormone responsible for controlling the amount of glucose in the body's bloodstream. Eric M. Strauss, ABC News, 18 Nov. 2022 In the United States, hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical condition after high blood pressure and arthritis, according to the CDC. Natalie Neysa Alund, USA TODAY, 17 Nov. 2022 Roberts became friends with Yolanda King, the eldest of MLK's children, who died in 2007 from complications related to a chronic heart condition. Lester Fabian Brathwaite, EW.com, 30 Oct. 2022 Without treatment, hepatitis C is a chronic condition that can lead to liver cancer or advanced liver disease and even be fatal. Sandhya Raman Cq-roll Call (tns), al, 19 Oct. 2022 Despite the sense of immediacy that comes from its name, heart failure is considered a chronic condition. Devi Shastri, Journal Sentinel, 26 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chronic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from French chronique, going back to Middle French, borrowed from Late Latin chronicus, going back to Latin, "written in the form of annals," borrowed from Greek chronikós "of time, temporal, in order by time," from chrónos "time" + -ikos -ic entry 1 — more at chrono-

Note: Latin chronicus was used by medical writers (as Caelius Aurelianus, ca. early 5th century a.d.) to translate Greek chrónios "occurring again and again," used by Greek medical writers, though Greek chronikós, the source of chronicus, lacks this sense.

First Known Use

1601, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of chronic was in 1601

Dictionary Entries Near chronic

Cite this Entry

“Chronic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chronic. Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

chronic

adjective
chron·​ic ˈkrän-ik How to pronounce chronic (audio)
1
: continuing or occurring again and again for a long time
a chronic disease
2
: habitual sense 2
a chronic complainer
chronically adverb

Medical Definition

chronic

1 of 2 adjective
chron·​ic ˈkrän-ik How to pronounce chronic (audio)
variants also chronical
1
a
: marked by long duration, by frequent recurrence over a long time, and often by slowly progressing seriousness : not acute
chronic indigestion
her hallucinations became chronic
b
: suffering from a disease or ailment of long duration or frequent recurrence
a chronic arthritic
chronic sufferers from asthma
2
a
: having a slow progressive course of indefinite duration
used especially of degenerative invasive diseases, some infections, psychoses, and inflammations
chronic heart diseasechronic arthritischronic tuberculosis
compare acute sense 2b(1)
b
: infected with a disease-causing agent (as a virus) and remaining infectious over a long period of time but not necessarily expressing symptoms
chronic carriers may remain healthy but still transmit the virus causing hepatitis B
chronically adverb
chronicity noun
plural chronicities

chronic

2 of 2 noun
: one that suffers from a chronic disease

More from Merriam-Webster on chronic

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