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)

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Pret combines a sniff of indulgence (there is basil on the prosciutto; the granola has bite) with maximal efficiency and a dose of passive adrenaline. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, "The Future of the Office Lunch," 28 Sep. 2020 But the ultimate indulgence is the Sentra’s unexpectedly room cabin that provides good head and legroom up front, and surprisingly good leg and foot space in the rear, although headroom is compromised somewhat by the car’s styling. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Cheap frills make the 2020 Nissan Sentra a little luxury ride (review)," 26 Sep. 2020 But perhaps the Western obsession with Turkish baths, in all its fantasizing and fetishizing, has been in part an attempt to claim pleasure as something more than indulgence, more like a mode of survival. Leslie Jamison, New York Times, "Is It Strange to Say I Miss the Bodies of Strangers?," 22 Sep. 2020 What is more delightful to the weak human soul than the prospect of criminal indulgence not only allowed but endorsed? David Mamet, National Review, "Hamlet and Oedipus Meet the Zombies," 17 Sep. 2020 Your spending may be sky-high at the moment, perhaps due to excessive indulgence in food, drink, recreation, or extravagant adornments. Tarot Astrologers,, "Daily horoscope for September 13, 2020," 13 Sep. 2020 Such self-destructive indulgence of totalitarian nihilism is evidence of just how deep our current crisis has become. Daniel J. Mahoney, National Review, "The Spirit of Religion and the Spirit of Liberty," 23 Sep. 2020 The small secondhand window air conditioner whose acquisition one of us finally permitted after years of insisting that air-conditioning was a degenerate indulgence. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper's Magazine, "Reason Not the Need," 15 Sep. 2020 But when does fat go from charming, glossy indulgence to just plain greasy? Mike Sutter,, "52 Weeks of Pizza: Zapata’s Pizza at Mi Tierra Cafe y Panadería scores the low ‘Once was enough’," 11 Sep. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of indulgence

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

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Time Traveler for indulgence

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for indulgence

Last Updated

13 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Indulgence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for indulgence


How to pronounce indulgence (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of indulgence

: the behavior or attitude of people who allow themselves to do what they want or who allow other people to do what they want
: the act of doing something that you enjoy but that is usually thought of as wrong or unhealthy
: something that is done or enjoyed as a special pleasure


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.

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