in·​dul·​gence | \in-ˈdəl-jən(t)s \

Definition of indulgence 

1 : 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)

2 : the act of indulging : the state of being indulgent

3a : an indulgent act

b : an extension of time for payment or performance granted as a favor

4a : the act of indulging in something especially : self-indulgence

b : something indulged in walk off gastronomic indulgences— Barbara L. Michaels

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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

But with menu entrée prices that soar from the mid $20s into the $50s for lobster tail indulgences, the service issues are inexcusable. Craig Laban,, "At Vista Peru, a view of promise, pisco and problems," 18 May 2018 The author, Eugène Briffault, was a journalist, gastronome, editor and critic who frequented the upper echelons of French society in the mid-19th century, a time of prosperity, indulgence and refinement. Florence Fabricant, New York Times, "A Glimpse Into Parisian Dining Life," 25 June 2018 Yet even as time numbed his wounds, success and self-indulgence dulled his pen. Robert R. Garnett, WSJ, "A Lost Love Gave Us Hemingway’s Spare Prose," 6 July 2018 Moral superiority in the absence of political power is useless, and self-reassurance in the inevitable upward motion of progress—that it may be interrupted or delayed, but rises inexorably—is self-indulgence. Jacob Bacharach, The New Republic, "Don’t Count on History to Judge Wisely," 27 June 2018 Hillis’s slim handbook aimed to convince her reader that, with a stiff upper lip and a healthy dose of economic self-indulgence, being an unpaired woman could be not just tolerable but liberating. Ashley Fetters, Curbed, "Living alone and liking it," 20 June 2018 As a young woman, her vocal ability and artistic ambition wowed us -- until those strengths turned into self-indulgence, catalyzing her slide from pop’s mainstream. Richard S. He, Billboard, "20 Years of Xtina: How She Found, Lost and Liberated Her Voice Again," 4 May 2018 Strong performances and good scenes, despite some lapses into self-indulgence. Chronicle Staff Report, San Francisco Chronicle, "Capsule movie reviews for week of April 29," 26 Apr. 2018 His various self-indulgences masquerade as near-sacraments. Robin Givhan, Houston Chronicle, "Dresses in 'Phantom Thread' written into fabric of script," 19 Jan. 2018

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 1

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Dictionary Entries near indulgence

in due time


indulge in





Statistics for indulgence

Last Updated

1 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for indulgence

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

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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 \

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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Comments on indulgence

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


obstinately defiant of authority

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