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 My father, an inventor and inveterate tinkerer, predicted the value of CPAP in treating patients with Covid-19 weeks before sending me one. Matthew Putman, STAT, "The U.S. needs to make more CPAP machines. Our supply chain is blocking that," 1 May 2020 Writers in particular are inveterate face-touchers. Jody Rosen, The New Yorker, "During the Coronavirus Outbreak, the Urge to Touch One’s Face Is Stronger Than Ever," 11 Mar. 2020 The second way that news organizations can meet the challenge of this moment is to stop booking those surrogates who are the worst of the inveterate liars. Washington Post, "With impeachment looming, the news media is growing a spine. It needs stiffening.," 2 Oct. 2019 Administration critics charge that the current Iran policy represents an attempt by inveterate hawks to plunge the U.S. into a war with the Islamic Republic. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "The Case for Restraint in the Gulf," 17 June 2019 Macy was an inveterate joker, even when discussing his career. Daniel E. Slotnik,, "Bill Macy, character actor best known for ‘Maude,’ dies," 18 Oct. 2019 For starters, Szeles, now 60, an inveterate prankster and disruptor, is hardly the most sincere or engaging personality. Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘The Amazing Johnathan Documentary’ profiles irascible magician in an illusory way," 14 Aug. 2019 In retirement, Cousy coached, worked in television, remained in Worcester with his bride of 63 years (Missie Cousy died in 2013), and became an inveterate reader of books. Dan Shaughnessy,, "Bob Cousy chose his words very carefully at the White House," 23 Aug. 2019 Yana Paskova for The New York Times Michael Seidenberg, whose clandestine bookshop and literary salon on the Upper East Side was much loved by bibliophiles, literati and inveterate browsers, died on July 8 in a hospital in Danbury, Conn. Neil Genzlinger, New York Times, "Michael Seidenberg, Who Ran a (Sort of) Secret Bookstore, Dies at 64," 15 July 2019

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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Time Traveler for inveterate

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

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Last Updated

7 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inveterate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for inveterate


How to pronounce inveterate (audio)

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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