in·​dul·​gence | \ in-ˈdəl-jən(t)s How to pronounce indulgence (audio) \

Definition of indulgence

1a : the act of indulging in something especially : self-indulgence
b : something indulged in walk off gastronomic indulgences— Barbara L. Michaels
2a : an indulgent act
b : an extension of time for payment or performance granted as a favor
3 : the act of indulging : the state of being indulgent
4 : remission of part or all of the temporal and especially purgatorial punishment that according to Roman Catholicism is due for sins whose eternal punishment has been remitted and whose guilt has been pardoned (as through the sacrament of reconciliation)

Examples of indulgence in a Sentence

She lived a life of selfish indulgence. his indulgence in forbidden pleasures She found that she couldn't afford the indulgences she had once enjoyed. For our anniversary we allowed ourselves the indulgence of an elegant dinner at our favorite restaurant. Good food is my only indulgence.
Recent Examples on the Web Self-care is a broad term, and sometimes people confuse self-care with self-indulgence, or an act of selfishness. Annie O’sullivan, Good Housekeeping, 28 Apr. 2022 The original game's narrator, Kevan Brighting, returns for a triumphant vocal performance, and his work is why so much of the series' self-indulgence goes down smoothly. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 27 Apr. 2022 President Trump’s election-fraud self-indulgence cost the GOP two Georgia Senate seats, and the price of that defeat keeps going up. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 24 Mar. 2022 If a writer like Rachel Cusk confronts the reader with the power of a taut, single consciousness, Bennett is stretching the forms that consciousness can take, to include effusion and hesitation, self-indulgence and equivocation. Lynn Steger Strong, The New Republic, 16 Mar. 2022 Escape at Dannemora, the previous series Stiller directed and produced, was decorative to the point of self-indulgence, ponderously eking out its minimal action over seven episodes when three would have done. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, 25 Feb. 2022 But the association with self-indulgence didn't disappear altogether, and neither did the moral condemnation. James Harbeck, The Week, 14 Feb. 2022 What is to be gained by the RNC’s indulgence of President Trump’s vendettas? The Editorial Board, WSJ, 4 Feb. 2022 While American diners are accustomed to comparative oyster, cheese, wine and even ham tastings, eating three premium lobes of uni, each sourced from a different bay, is a rarer indulgence. Caroline Hatchett, Robb Report, 24 Jan. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of indulgence

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Learn More About indulgence

Time Traveler for indulgence

Time Traveler

The first known use of indulgence was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near indulgence

indulge in



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for indulgence

Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Indulgence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for indulgence


in·​dul·​gence | \ in-ˈdəl-jəns How to pronounce indulgence (audio) \

Kids Definition of indulgence

1 : the practice of allowing enjoyment of whatever is desired He lives a life of indulgence.
2 : an act of doing what is desired She regretted her indulgence in new clothes.
3 : something that a person enjoys or desires Chocolate is an indulgence.

More from Merriam-Webster on indulgence

Nglish: Translation of indulgence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of indulgence for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about indulgence


Test Your Vocabulary

Eponyms: Words Named After People

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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