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verb (used without object), in·dulged, in·dulg·ing.
  1. to yield to an inclination or desire; allow oneself to follow one's will (often followed by in): Dessert came, but I didn't indulge. They indulged in unbelievable shopping sprees.
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verb (used with object), in·dulged, in·dulg·ing.
  1. to yield to, satisfy, or gratify (desires, feelings, etc.): to indulge one's appetite for sweets.
  2. to yield to the wishes or whims of; be lenient or permissive with: to indulge a child.
  3. to allow (oneself) to follow one's will (usually followed by in): to indulge oneself in reckless spending.
  4. Commerce. to grant an extension of time, for payment or performance, to (a person, company, etc.) or on (a bill, note, etc.).
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Origin of indulge

First recorded in 1630–40, indulge is from the Latin word indulgēre to be lenient (toward), accede, take pleasure (in)
Related formsin·dulg·er, nounin·dulg·ing·ly, adverbpre·in·dulge, verb (used with object), pre·in·dulged, pre·in·dulg·ing.qua·si-in·dulged, adjectivere·in·dulge, verb, re·in·dulged, re·in·dulg·ing.un·in·dulged, adjectiveun·in·dulg·ing, adjective

Synonyms for indulge

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3. pamper, favor. See humor.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for indulge

satisfy, satiate, nourish, pamper, tickle, entertain, spoil, pander, gratify, humor, oblige, regale, pet, please, cosset, yield, delight, favor, foster, cater

Examples from the Web for indulge

Contemporary Examples of indulge

Historical Examples of indulge

British Dictionary definitions for indulge


  1. (when intr, often foll by in) to yield to or gratify (a whim or desire for)to indulge a desire for new clothes; to indulge in new clothes
  2. (tr) to yield to the wishes of; pamperto indulge a child
  3. (tr) to allow oneself the pleasure of somethingat Christmas he liked to indulge himself
  4. (tr) commerce to allow (a debtor) an extension of time for payment of (a bill, etc)
  5. (intr) informal to take alcoholic drink, esp to excess
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Derived Formsindulger, nounindulgingly, adverb

Word Origin for indulge

C17: from Latin indulgēre to concede, from -dulgēre, probably related to Greek dolikhos long, Gothic tulgus firm
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 indulge


1630s, "to grant as a favor;" 1650s, of both persons and desires, "to treat with unearned favor;" a back-formation from indulgence, or else from Latin indulgere "to be complaisant." Related: Indulged; indulging.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper