in·​vet·​er·​ate | \ in-ˈve-t(ə-)rət How to pronounce inveterate (audio) \

Definition of inveterate

1 : confirmed in a habit : habitual an inveterate liar
2 : firmly established by long persistence the inveterate tendency to overlook the obvious

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Other Words from inveterate

inveterately adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for inveterate

inveterate, confirmed, chronic mean firmly established. inveterate applies to a habit, attitude, or feeling of such long existence as to be practically ineradicable or unalterable. an inveterate smoker confirmed implies a growing stronger and firmer with time so as to resist change or reform. a confirmed bachelor chronic suggests something that is persistent or endlessly recurrent and troublesome. a chronic complainer

The History of Inveterate

Like veteran, inveterate ultimately comes from Latin vetus, which means "old," and which led to the Latin verb inveterare ("to age"). That verb in turn gave rise eventually to the adjective inveteratus, the direct source of our adjective inveterate (in use since the 14th century). In the past, inveterate has meant "long-standing" or simply "old." For example, one 16th-century writer warned of "Those great Flyes which in the springe time of the yeare creepe out of inveterate walls." Today, inveterate most often applies to a habit, attitude, or feeling of such long existence that it is practically ineradicable or unalterable.

Examples of inveterate in a Sentence

his inveterate tendency to overlook the obvious he has an inveterate tendency to tell some very tall tales
Recent Examples on the Web Brion Wise—chemical engineer and inveterate founder of companies and developer of systems—came to California in 2002 looking for vineyard land. Sara L. Schneider, Robb Report, 24 May 2021 An inveterate gardener, Ms. Ober enjoyed flower arranging and was a member of the Hardy Garden Club. Frederick N. Rasmussen,, 19 May 2021 For his part, Mr. Johnson was basking in the Conservative Party’s victories in regional elections across England, which left the opposition Labour Party in disarray and reinforced his reputation as an inveterate vote-getter. Mark Landler, New York Times, 8 May 2021 Despite her general sense of alienation the narrator remains an inveterate people watcher. Washington Post, 20 Apr. 2021 Her Right and Morphine singled out Hypnosonics, one of the many bands the inveterate collaborator was involved in alongside those famous outfits., 15 Apr. 2021 And the military has a commensurate track record, with urgent and inveterate problems still far from resolved. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, 6 Apr. 2021 And the results of Week 1426 should generate much coffee-spitting among the inveterate newspaper readers who probably constitute the large majority of Loserdom. Washington Post, 1 Apr. 2021 In addition to his busy professional life, Dr. von Kessler, the son of a cavalry officer, was an inveterate horseman. Frederick N. Rasmussen,, 3 Apr. 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for inveterate

Middle English, from Latin inveteratus, from past participle of inveterare to age (transitive verb), from in- + veter-, vetus old — more at wether

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The first known use of inveterate was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

28 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inveterate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for inveterate



English Language Learners Definition of inveterate

formal + often disapproving
: always or often doing something specified
: always or often happening or existing


in·​vet·​er·​ate | \ in-ˈvet-ə-rət, -ˈve-trət How to pronounce inveterate (audio) \

Medical Definition of inveterate

1 : marked by long duration or frequent recurrence inveterate bursitis
2 : confirmed in a habit : habitual sense 2 an inveterate smoker


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