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 And the path to freedom starts, Berrie writes, with a little indulgence. Gabby Shacknai, Forbes, 2 June 2022 Boozy ice cream cups, a perfect indulgence on the warm May evening. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 9 May 2022 And for some, there’s also guilt, for the indulgence of talking about anxious feelings at a time when others are suffering far more. New York Times, 10 Mar. 2022 One thing seemed more sinister than Satanic slogans—the pampered indulgence of the rock lifestyle. Bob Larsen, SPIN, 12 Feb. 2022 The book’s second half—four chapters prefaced by an interlude on cyberspace—makes the case that today’s radical actors, energized by the distraction-prone self-indulgence of online media, can’t sustain radical change. Barton Swaim, WSJ, 4 Feb. 2022 The Happy Hour package includes a gel manicure, a luxurious blow dry and seasonal frappé to enjoy during the treatment, the perfect indulgence before a night out. Bridget Arsenault, Forbes, 26 Dec. 2021 There is a difference between living with a right and relying on the indulgence of a state legislature. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, 2 Dec. 2021 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 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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near indulgence

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Last Updated

16 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

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

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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


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