in·​vet·​er·​ate | \in-ˈve-t(ə-)rət \

Definition of inveterate 

1 : firmly established by long persistence the inveterate tendency to overlook the obvious

2 : confirmed in a habit : habitual an inveterate liar

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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

Within a matter of hours, a possible act of anti-auction protest by an inveterate art prankster had been transmogrified by the churning gears of the market into an auction-reifying, value-amplifying piece of monetizable performance art. Julia Felsenthal, Vogue, "The Price of Everything,," 18 Oct. 2018 To shore up his standing with white evangelicals, the president released lists of potential nominees during the campaign, and has met at least seven people on those lists, though Mr Trump, an inveterate showman, may choose someone else entirely. The Economist, "A court with a solid conservative majority could reshape American life," 5 July 2018 Grenell, meanwhile, seemed an ideal Trumpist standard-bearer — a former aide to national security adviser John Bolton, a Fox News talking head and an inveterate tormentor of journalists and Democrats on social media. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "The U.S. ambassador in Germany flies the Trumpist flag," 5 June 2018 The central idea is that business and conservation need not be inveterate adversaries. Mark Sappenfield, The Christian Science Monitor, "When a healthy environment is good business," 4 June 2018 Only a committed sportsman or an inveterate thrill-seeker could ignore those incentives in the interests of putting Justify to the sternest possible test. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Of course Audible scratched. WinStar Farms has too much money at stake," 25 May 2018 Here, Ehrenreich speaks as an inveterate gym rat, a participant in the astonishing rise of the workout since the 1970s. Gabriel Winant, The New Republic, "Barbara Ehrenreich’s radical critique of wellness and self-improvement," 23 May 2018 My dad was an inveterate gambler; that was very difficult. Denise Davidson,, "In new memoir, comedian Annabelle Gurwitch focuses on family and tribalism," 21 May 2018 Oversight of Transdev has been an inveterate challenge for the current RTA board, which is still searching for a new executive director after the sudden resignation of Greg Cook in September. Beau Evans,, "RTA chairwoman resigned ahead of Cantrell inauguration," 8 May 2018

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 1

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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Last Updated

20 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for inveterate

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

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More Definitions for inveterate



English Language Learners Definition of inveterate

: always or often doing something specified

: always or often happening or existing


in·​vet·​er·​ate | \in-ˈvet-ə-rət, -ˈve-trət \

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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