• synonyms


[al-kuh-haw-lik, -hol-ik]
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  1. of, relating to, or of the nature of alcohol.
  2. containing or using alcohol.
  3. caused by alcohol.
  4. suffering from alcoholism.
  5. preserved in alcohol.
  1. Pathology. a person suffering from alcoholism.
  2. a person addicted to intoxicating drinks.

Origin of alcoholic

First recorded in 1780–90; alcohol + -ic
Related formsal·co·hol·i·cal·ly, adverbpre·al·co·hol·ic, adjectivesem·i·al·co·hol·ic, adjective

Synonym study

6. See drunkard.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for alcoholic

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • This was undoubtedly a case of alcoholic blastophthoria and not ordinary heredity.

  • The huge still continued to trickle forth its alcoholic sweat.


    Emile Zola

  • An alcoholic reek like that from old brandy casks issued from his mouth.


    Emile Zola

  • Do not drink beer or whisky, or any other alcoholic liquors.

  • His garrulity might have an alcoholic basis, but his wits were clear enough.

    The Market-Place

    Harold Frederic

British Dictionary definitions for alcoholic


  1. a person affected by alcoholism
  1. of, relating to, containing, or resulting from alcohol
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for alcoholic


1790, "of or pertaining to alcohol;" see alcohol + -ic. Meaning "caused by drunkenness" is attested by 1872; meaning "habitually drunk" by 1910. Noun sense of "one who is addicted to drinking in excess, chronic drunkard, old rounder" is recorded from 1891; earlier alcoholist (1888). Alcoholics Anonymous founded 1935 in Akron, Ohio, U.S. Alky is first recorded 1844 as a slang shortening of "alcoholic liquor;" 1960 in the sense of "a drunkard."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

alcoholic in Medicine


  1. Related to or resulting from alcohol.
  2. Containing or preserved in alcohol.
  3. Suffering from alcoholism.
  1. A person who drinks alcoholic substances habitually and to excess or who suffers from alcoholism.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.