seven-year itch

[ sev-en-yeer ]
/ ˈsɛv ɛnˌyɪər /


the temptation to have an affair, held to become a hazard in the seventh year of marriage.

Nearby words

  1. seven-league boots,
  2. seven-segment display,
  3. seven-seven,
  4. seven-spot,
  5. seven-up,
  6. sevenbark,
  7. sevener,
  8. sevenfold,
  9. sevenpenny,
  10. sevens

Origin of seven-year itch

An Americanism dating back to 1895–1900 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for seven-year itch

seven-year itch


informal a tendency towards infidelity, traditionally said to begin after about seven years of marriage
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 seven-year itch

seven-year itch


1899, American English, some sort of skin condition (sometimes identified with poison ivy infection) that either lasts seven years or returns every seven years. Jocular use for "urge to stray from marital fidelity" is attested from 1952, as the title of the Broadway play (made into a film, 1955) by George Axelrod (1922-2003), in which the lead male character reads an article describing the high number of men have extra-marital affairs after seven years of marriage.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper