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

Definition of indulge

transitive verb

1a : to yield to the desire of : humor please indulge me for a moment
b : to treat with excessive leniency, generosity, or consideration
2a : to give free rein to
b : to take unrestrained pleasure in : gratify

intransitive verb

: to indulge oneself

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Other Words from indulge

indulger noun

Synonyms for indulge


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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web For many, trading stocks started as a way to indulge their speculative itch when other avenues, such as sports gambling, were effectively shuttered. New York Times, "Market Edges Toward Euphoria, Despite Pandemic’s Toll," 27 Dec. 2020 Since the beginning of time, people who indulge in beauty products are consistently loyal to our favorite cosmetic formulas and brands. Micolette Davis, Chron, "Color yourself beautiful with cruelty-free, clean cosmetics," 11 Dec. 2020 On air, Sandusky can’t help but indulge in the occasional only-in-2020 quip. Jonas Shaffer,, "‘This is like the Wild, Wild West’: Ravens radio team adjusts to one broadcasting novelty after another in 2020," 31 Dec. 2020 In downtown Miami, Legacy Hotel & Residences are attached to a 100,000-square-foot medical center—ideal for out-of-town buyers who want to get treatment locally for chronic illnesses or indulge in anti-aging or cosmetic procedures. Candace Jackson, Town & Country, "In High-End Real Estate, Are Doctors the New Doormen?," 27 Dec. 2020 The show’s creator Peter Rothstein doesn’t try to spin any surprises or indulge in fantasy or revisionist history. Christopher Arnott,, "Playhouse on Park’s ‘All is Calm’ a warm, moving portrayal of 1914 Christmas Truce," 22 Dec. 2020 This includes Senate Republicans, who need to win in Georgia to retain their majority and block Mr. Biden’s ability to indulge the Democratic left. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Trump Gives Schumer an Assist," 29 Dec. 2020 With that good news, Tsipursky encouraged Americans to indulge in planning for an amazing holiday season — next year. Joel Shannon, USA TODAY, "A full table at Christmas this year may mean an empty one in the years ahead, experts warn," 6 Dec. 2020 Children and adolescents need a place to seek out books to stimulate their minds and indulge their curiosity. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: COVID closures, Enbridge Line 3, Gopher football and racism, Kmart's "K"," 4 Dec. 2020

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

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

History and Etymology for indulge

Latin indulgēre to be complaisant

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Time Traveler for indulge Time Traveler

The first known use of indulge was circa 1623

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Statistics for indulge

Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Indulge.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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More Definitions for indulge



English Language Learners Definition of indulge

: to allow (yourself) to have or do something as a special pleasure
: to allow (someone) to have or do something even though it may not be proper, healthy, appropriate, etc.
: to patiently allow (someone) to do or say something


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

Kids Definition of indulge

1 : to give in to the desires of Grandparents often indulge their grandchildren.
2 : to give in to a desire for something For my birthday, I indulged in a day off.

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