in·​dul·​gent | \in-ˈdəl-jənt \

Definition of indulgent 

1 : willing to allow excessive leniency, generosity, or consideration : indulging or characterized by indulgence indulgent grandparents

2 : done or enjoyed as a special treat or pleasure indulgent desserts

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Other Words from indulgent

indulgently adverb

Examples of indulgent in a Sentence

He gave the child an indulgent smile. she was perhaps a bit too indulgent with her children, who always seemed to get away with everything

Recent Examples on the Web

His father, a researcher in marine biology, is dead, and his mother, Sally (Draper), has inexplicably married a lunkhead, Ron (Nick Sandow), who faults her on her indulgent parenting. Tom Keogh, The Seattle Times, "‘Stella’s Last Weekend’: Dog brings only grace to ill-conceived family affair," 25 Oct. 2018 Many players of his size and profile—5-foot-8 with a penchant for dribbling in busy areas—would be considered too slight and self-indulgent for the Premier League. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "The Premier League Was Supposed to be a Two-Team Race. But Chelsea Keeps Hanging Around.," 19 Oct. 2018 Rich, indulgent fare continued to be a mainstay of Kinnaird’s diet as an adult—until she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1999. Marygrace Taylor, Good Housekeeping, "The Simple Diet Change That Helped One Woman Get Her Diabetes Under Control," 15 Oct. 2018 Let this sobering act actually feel scandalously self-indulgent. Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Weekly Horoscopes October 15-21," 13 Oct. 2018 The food tastes far too indulgent to be performance-promoting, but that really means nothing. Michael Easter, Outside Online, "Peanut Butter and Jelly Should Fuel Your Next Adventure," 9 Apr. 2018 The sublime calm of the city's most expansive and sophisticated spa offers an indulgent escape, while NEO Boutique debuts an enviable collection of designer fashions, some available for the first time in South Africa. Julian Harrison, Town & Country, "How to Plan a Trip to Africa," 5 Oct. 2016 What too much autofiction has in common is a weakness for the self-indulgent, for spelling things out and for elevating the quotidian, the banal into thin profundities. Mark Sarvas, New York Times, "He’s a Lifer at Angola. He’s Black. Was He Falsely Convicted?," 4 May 2018 Its ice cream, in several gourmet flavors, is made to order by blending fresh milk with food-grade liquid nitrogen, producing an extra-smooth and indulgent frozen treat. Leeanne Griffin,, "25-Plus Popular Ice Cream Spots In Connecticut," 21 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'indulgent.' 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 indulgent

1509, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for indulgent

Latin indulgent-, indulgens, present participle of indulgēre

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Dictionary Entries near indulgent


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Statistics for indulgent

Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for indulgent

The first known use of indulgent was in 1509

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English Language Learners Definition of indulgent

: willing to allow someone to have or enjoy something even though it may not be proper, healthy, appropriate, etc.

: done or enjoyed as a special pleasure


in·​dul·​gent | \in-ˈdəl-jənt \

Kids Definition of indulgent

: feeling or showing a willingness to allow enjoyment of whatever is wanted : lenient indulgent parents

Other Words from indulgent

indulgently adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on indulgent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for indulgent

Spanish Central: Translation of indulgent

Nglish: Translation of indulgent for Spanish Speakers

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