in·dulge | \ in-ˈdəlj \
indulged; indulging

Definition of indulge 

transitive verb

1a : to give free rein to

b : to take unrestrained pleasure in : gratify

2a : to yield to the desire of : humor please indulge me for a moment

b : to treat with excessive leniency, generosity, or consideration

intransitive verb

: to indulge oneself

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from indulge

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Turkey has had slow growth, rising inflation and capital flight as Mr. Erdogan has indulged his authoritarian instincts and politicized the central bank. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Turkey’s Authoritarian Choice," 24 June 2018 Feel free to indulge here and still stay on budget. Joe Jackson, San Francisco Chronicle, "Bard-land on a budget: Experiencing Ashland with 2 people for 2 days on $200," 24 May 2018 Go ahead — give yourself permission to indulge and give back at the same time. Shanelle Drakeford, Allure, "9 Wellness Products That Support Good Causes and Help You Relax," 19 Apr. 2018 Some of Trump's detractors argue that the President is short-circuiting a conventional policy process simply to indulge his whims and is making decisions involving national security to bolster his own political base. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Presidential whiplash stokes immigration crisis to justify troop surge," 5 Apr. 2018 There's no romance here; this is simply a case of two young adults spontaneously indulging their baser instincts and doing so with wild, unrestrained passion. Darla Murray, Cosmopolitan, "10 Guys Reveal the Movie Sex Scene That Turns Them on Most," 16 June 2017 Food specialties: Build your own pizza or indulge in the wings and choose your favorite sauce to go with them. Jane Donahue, Naperville Sun, "Get a taste of Up North at new Naperville ale house," 10 July 2018 The world may consider Neymar to be spoiled, but his compatriots take pleasure in indulging him. Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, "The Annoying Genius Who Makes the World Cup Worth Watching," 5 July 2018 But in revisiting his relationship with Kenyon, Hall was also indulging another principle of the resourceful freelancer – selling the same story to different audiences. Danny Heitman, The Christian Science Monitor, "Donald Hall: poet, farmer, indefatigable observer of life," 26 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of indulge

circa 1623, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for indulge

Latin indulgēre to be complaisant

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about indulge

Phrases Related to indulge

indulge in

Statistics for indulge

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for indulge

The first known use of indulge was circa 1623

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 \
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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on indulge

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


a magnificent or impressive array

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!