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

Synonyms & Antonyms for indulgent


charitable, clement, easy, soft


hard, harsh, severe, stern, strict

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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

Take that note as a way to kickstart your creativity for writing a menu theme that’s satisfying but not over-indulgent. Talia Abbas, SELF, "How to Throw a Laid-Back Holiday Party at Home, from the Team at A Summer Day Cafe," 6 Dec. 2018 It will likely be resembled in eating behaviors, with higher-income consumers tending to be healthier and lower-income consumers tending to be a bit more indulgent. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "Why we’re in a golden age of novelty food items and bizarre flavors," 21 Dec. 2018 Frankly, there’s something amusingly insolent about it, like scolding an egomaniacal lead guitarist, only to watch him unleash an indulgent, one-hour solo. WSJ, "The Baseball Game That Almost Never Ended," 28 Oct. 2018 First among them — and the most indulgent, in my opinion — is the aforementioned sleeper car. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Volvo’s 360c concept has softened my cynicism about autonomous cars," 6 Sep. 2018 His treatment of Eliza, at once indulgent and neglectful, is as much an object of critical scrutiny as the flower girl's transformation. Charles Mcnulty,, "What 'My Fair Lady' and 'Carousel' bring to Broadway that 'Mean Girls' does not," 17 May 2018 The celebrations had become too indulgent, a directive warned. Maria Abi-habib, New York Times, "How to Celebrate Buddha in Sri Lanka? Stop Partying, Some Say," 2 May 2018 As far as candy holidays go, Easter is less indulgent than Halloween, but still full of sweets. Bon Appétit, Bon Appetit, "45 Easter Desserts (That You Can Eat All Spring)," 31 Mar. 2018 Drinks are clever and a little indulgent, like desserts in a highball. Condé Nast Traveler, "21 Best Bars in Sydney," 27 Feb. 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


indulge in






Statistics for indulgent

Last Updated

9 Feb 2019

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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

sometimes disapproving : 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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