Definition of indulgence in English:



  • 1The action or fact of indulging.

    ‘indulgence in self-pity’
    • ‘The very measures that are supposed to protect our young people from over indulgence of self-abuse habits are in fact the lures that draw them into it.’
    • ‘‘We appeal to you to guard against excessive indulgence and lack of discernment in behavioural patterns,’ he said.’
    • ‘And we will have contributed a good deal of pain, cruelty and selfish indulgence to the karma of the universe.’
    • ‘I think this neglect of graphic design as a serious discipline is the fact that it is seen mainly as based on aesthetic indulgence.’
    • ‘She would never let him get away with such indulgence in self-pity.’
    • ‘Is this writing, then, some kind of solipsistic indulgence conducted purely for your own benefit?’
    • ‘It was either taught in parables or using horror messages to discourage young people from ‘premarital’ sexual indulgence.’
    • ‘But the mood is not one of back-slapping indulgence and self-congratulation.’
    • ‘If this is indulgence, then indulge me, because I'm impressed and fascinated.’
    • ‘King is indulging his imagination, and we have to indulge his indulgence if we're going to enjoy this.’
    • ‘It might not be the most impressive show in the festival, but it's precisely the sort of experimental, self-regarding indulgence that I'd expect in Venice.’
    • ‘Students showed a greater disposition to disclose indulgence in these behaviors to peers and others outside the family than to those within it.’
    • ‘The city of indulgence and excess will be this summer's location for the largest annual scientific forum and food technology exposition.’
    • ‘I'll bet most of you reading this can relate to the struggle back and forth: indulgence vs. virtue, comfort food vs. fitness fuel.’
    • ‘Now, by love I don't mean indulgence or sentimentality.’
    • ‘First and foremost, Antony writes for himself, but this it is no selfish indulgence.’
    • ‘This post is a sad observation inspired by what I find to be excessive indulgence in predictory politics in the previous post in this weblog.’
    • ‘Many items came complete with copper food warmers, and the entire evening was one of indulgence (and overindulgence at times).’
    satisfaction, satisfying, gratification, gratifying, fulfilment, fulfilling, satiation, appeasement, assuagement, quenching, slaking
    self-gratification, self-indulgence, overindulgence, overconsumption, intemperance, immoderation, immoderateness, dissipation, dissolution, dissoluteness, debauchery, excess, excessiveness, lack of restraint, prodigality, extravagance, decadence, pleasure-seeking, wantonness, lack of self-control
    pampering, coddling, mollycoddling, cosseting, babying, mothering, nannying
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The state or attitude of being indulgent or tolerant.
      ‘she regarded his affairs with a casual, slightly amused indulgence’
      • ‘So the starting point of the law is an essentially agnostic view of religious beliefs and a tolerant indulgence to religious and cultural diversity.’
      • ‘If we had, we would not treat blatant apologists for the Soviet Union with fond indulgence and even respect.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, this talent had a weak side: her inclination toward indulgence and spoiling her little darlings.’
      • ‘The US had once looked upon Japanese ambitions with a level of sympathy, even indulgence.’
      • ‘We are in the era of guarded opulence and while heads are rolling in town, a certain level of indulgence continues to continue in Napoleon's France.’
      • ‘To be able to look at childhood fantasies with indulgence and optimism is a lot about recognising the child in all of us.’
      • ‘But often there's a slightly patronising tone, a hint of indulgence.’
      • ‘Inside, the new-style voting forms were being accepted with the slightest shrug of indulgence; it changes, it stays the same.’
      tolerance, forbearance, humanity, compassion, kindness, understanding, sympathy, liberalness, liberality, forgiveness, leniency, lenience, clemency, mercy, mercifulness
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 A thing that is indulged in; a luxury.
      ‘Claire collects shoes—it is her indulgence’
      • ‘With indulgence in luxuries out of the question, he recommended reading, gardening and amateur theatricals.’
      • ‘A naughty but nice treat or a well-deserved indulgence?’
      • ‘To offset these culinary indulgences, one could visit the more dramatic hill towns, like Cordes-sur-Ciel, Rocamador, or Loubressac, and climb their steep streets.’
      • ‘His cakes table was groaning with elegant indulgences.’
      • ‘She names two much-anthologized poets, Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams, as her two great indulgences.’
      • ‘His only indulgences are fashion and fast cars and neither is a crime, although that sarong came close.’
      • ‘As with most medieval societies, meat was a luxury, enjoyed only as an occasional indulgence.’
      • ‘I saw therapy as an indulgence, a luxury I couldn't afford, and the idea of antidepressants frightened me.’
      • ‘I had one of my favourite breakfast indulgences: a deluxe Belgian waffle with strawberries, whipped cream, pecans and brown sugar.’
      • ‘Their several-course dinner includes such gourmet indulgences as steamed lobster, veal, scallop brochettes, ravioli with almond crumbs and more.’
      • ‘I saw it yesterday - a midday summer movie by myself, one of my few truly decadent indulgences - and found it surprisingly funny and true.’
      • ‘A big earner but a careful spender, his main indulgences are fishing equipment and holidays - and even then he stuffs his four kids in economy while he flies club.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, I'm pandering to all my worst indulgences.’
      • ‘He replaced these beloved indulgences with fruit and yogurt.’
      • ‘This is consumer advertising that recognises that consumers are having a difficult time of it and market their products as little luxuries or indulgences.’
      • ‘Although health care may seem more pressing, national parks and forests are not frills or indulgences.’
      • ‘During my week off I took to the streets in search of indulgences.’
      extravagance, luxury, treat, comfort, non-essential, extra, frill
      View synonyms
  • 2historical (in the Roman Catholic Church) a grant by the Pope of remission of the temporal punishment in purgatory still due for sins after absolution. The unrestricted sale of indulgences by pardoners was a widespread abuse during the later Middle Ages.

    • ‘Moreover, it was not necessary to travel to St. Peter's, as these indulgences were granted to those who prayed in front of a representation of the Vera Icon as well.’
    • ‘Pay-per-view religion is a very contemporary idea and offers a new way to charge for indulgences.’
    • ‘The Reformation erupted over just this issue in the sale of indulgences.’
    • ‘Basically if you knew that you had sinned you would wait until a pardoner was in your region selling an indulgence and purchase one.’
    • ‘The practice of granting indulgences - remission of punishment for sins through the intercession of the Church - already had a long history.’
    • ‘I like the idea of sales of indulgences making a comeback, though!’
    • ‘The ‘treasures of the Church,’ out of which the Pope grants indulgences, are not sufficiently named or known among the people of Christ.’
    • ‘As it is, relics and indulgences seem to be trivial grounds for the radical actions that follow.’
    • ‘Being a student of medieval history, I've been aware for a long time of the doctrine of plenary indulgences within the Catholic Church.’
    • ‘Surely Paul was not thinking of the crisis over 16th-century indulgences when he wrote about ‘faith alone’.’
    • ‘Indeed, as Richard points out, the plenary indulgence first given to the Crusaders soon ceased to be the primary motive for undertaking a Crusade.’
    • ‘They prepared proper accommodations and obtained special indulgences for the pilgrims so that their visit would be as spiritual as possible.’
    • ‘Most especially Luther disputed the sale of indulgences whereby, as Luther perceived, believers might buy forgiveness for themselves or their departed relatives.’
    • ‘In what way does it differ from the sale of indulgences in the 16th century which brought great discredit to the church?’
    • ‘There have also been grumblings about charges and tithes collected by churches - indulgences being one case.’
  • 3An extension of the time in which a bill or debt has to be paid.

    • ‘It is merely intended as an indulgence offered by the lender to the borrower.’


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin indulgentia, from the verb indulgere (see indulge).