in·​dulge in-ˈdəlj How to pronounce indulge (audio)
indulged; indulging

transitive verb

: to yield to the desire of : humor
please indulge me for a moment
: to treat with excessive leniency, generosity, or consideration
: to give free rein to
: to take unrestrained pleasure in : gratify

intransitive verb

: to indulge oneself
indulger noun
Choose the Right Synonym for indulge

indulge, pamper, humor, spoil, baby, mollycoddle mean to show undue favor to a person's desires and feelings.

indulge implies excessive compliance and weakness in gratifying another's or one's own desires.

indulged myself with food at the slightest excuse

pamper implies inordinate gratification of desire for luxury and comfort with consequent enervating effect.

pampered by the amenities of modern living

humor stresses a yielding to a person's moods or whims.

humored him by letting him tell the story

spoil stresses the injurious effects on character by indulging or pampering.

foolish parents spoil their children

baby suggests excessive care, attention, or solicitude.

babying students by grading too easily

mollycoddle suggests an excessive degree of care and attention to another's health or welfare.

refused to mollycoddle her malingering son

Examples of indulge in a Sentence

It's my birthday. I'm going to indulge myself and eat whatever I want to eat. It's my birthday. I'm going to indulge. Please indulge me while I review the topics we covered yesterday. The museum is an excellent place to let children indulge their curiosity about dinosaurs. She bought a house with a big yard so that she could indulge her passion for gardening.
Recent Examples on the Web Like their sensuous planetary ruler, Venus, Taurus is fond of their creature comforts, often indulging their children with delicious meals, gentle affection, and a cozy living space. Valerie Mesa, Peoplemag, 11 May 2024 She was blessed with great parents who indulged their daughter’s passion to see everything that played at Brookings’ two movie theaters, one right across the street from each other. Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for indulge 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'indulge.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin indulgēre to be complaisant

First Known Use

circa 1623, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2a

Time Traveler
The first known use of indulge was circa 1623

Dictionary Entries Near indulge

Cite this Entry

“Indulge.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


in·​dulge in-ˈdəlj How to pronounce indulge (audio)
indulged; indulging
: to give in to one's own or another's desires : humor
indulged their grandchildren's whims
: to allow oneself the pleasure of having or doing something
decided to indulge in ice cream
indulger noun

More from Merriam-Webster on indulge

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