addiction

noun

ad·​dic·​tion ə-ˈdik-shən How to pronounce addiction (audio)
a-
1
: a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence : the state of being addicted
alcohol addiction
an addiction to prescription painkillers
drug addictions
gambling addiction
2
: a strong inclination to do, use, or indulge in something repeatedly
But those who know him well say he isn't driven by politics as much as his addiction to breaking news. Amanda Ripley
If we do not find the courage to kick our fossil fuel addiction and transition to clean energy, we will warm the atmosphere to the extent that areas typically covered in white all winter long could see only sporadic snow. Steven Nyman

Example Sentences

He has a drug addiction. His life has been ruined by heroin addiction. He devotes his summers to his surfing addiction.
Recent Examples on the Web The holidays can be difficult for people who are recovering from alcohol misuse or addiction. Saleen Martin, USA TODAY, 23 Nov. 2022 However, halfway through the night, the liver will have finished metabolizing the alcohol into a stimulant called acetaldehyde, according to Dr. Bhanu Kolla, an addiction psychiatrist and sleep medicine expert at the Mayo Clinic. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 23 Nov. 2022 The last year has seen progress in the area, Sullivan concedes, even if problems of addiction persist. Danny Mcdonald, BostonGlobe.com, 22 Nov. 2022 The doc touches upon, rather than dissects, the idea that Jr.’s addiction may have been inadvertently fostered by his permissive dad, a seemingly pivotal piece of their symbiotic dynamic. Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times, 22 Nov. 2022 However, Kajganich did make changes to the original work that DeAngelis has said made her story about love, alienation, and addiction even better. Shannon Carlin, Time, 22 Nov. 2022 One attendee wanted addiction support that connects them to the outdoors. The Arizona Republic, 21 Nov. 2022 Overprescription of opioids has led to addiction and dependence on illicit drugs. Kenneth Scheppke, WSJ, 21 Nov. 2022 One hobby that's helped is a spiraling addiction to vinyl. Julian Chokkattu, WIRED, 20 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'addiction.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

earlier, "inclination, bent," in part derivative of addict entry 2, in part borrowed from Latin addictiōn-, addictiō "adjudging (of disputed property), assignment of a debtor to the custody of his creditor," from addīcere "to assign (property), hand over, give up to" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of action nouns — more at addict entry 2

First Known Use

circa 1532, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of addiction was circa 1532

Dictionary Entries Near addiction

Cite this Entry

“Addiction.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/addiction. Accessed 30 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

addiction

noun

ad·​dic·​tion ə-ˈdik-shən How to pronounce addiction (audio)
a-
: the quality or state of being addicted
especially : uncontrollable use of habit-forming drugs

Medical Definition

addiction

noun

ad·​dic·​tion ə-ˈdik-shən How to pronounce addiction (audio)
: a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence : the state of being addicted
alcohol addiction
an addiction to prescription painkillers
drug addictions
gambling addiction/it}

Legal Definition

addiction

noun

ad·​dic·​tion ə-ˈdik-shən How to pronounce addiction (audio)
: compulsive physiological need for a habit-forming drug (as heroin)

More from Merriam-Webster on addiction

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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