from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A disease characterized by addiction to alcoholic beverages, often resulting in impaired social functioning and in damage to the liver, heart, and nervous system.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In pathology, the effects of excessive use of alcoholic drinks.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Med.) A diseased condition of the system, brought about by the continued use of alcoholic liquors.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun pathology A chronic disease caused by addiction to alcohol, leading to a deterioration in health and social functioning.
  • noun pathology Acute alcohol poisoning.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun habitual intoxication; prolonged and excessive intake of alcoholic drinks leading to a breakdown in health and an addiction to alcohol such that abrupt deprivation leads to severe withdrawal symptoms
  • noun an intense persistent desire to drink alcoholic beverages to excess


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • Kind of shocked this word hadn't been listed yet, but whatever...

    "In a community lacking pure-water supplies, the closest thing to 'pure' fluid was alcohol. Whatever health risks were posed by beer (and later wine) in the early days of agrarian settlements were more than offset by alcohol's antibacterial properties.... Over generations, the gene pool of the first farmers became increasingly dominated by individuals who could drink beer on a regular basis. Most of the world's population today is made up of descendants of those early beer drinkers, and we have largely inherited their genetic tolerance for alcohol.... The descendants of hunter-gatherers—like many Native Americans or Australian Aborigines—were never forced through this genetic bottleneck, and so today they show disproportionate rates of alcoholism. The chronic drinking problem in Native American populations has been blamed on everything from the weak 'Indian constitution' to the humiliating abuses of the U.S. reservation system. But their alcohol intolerance most likely has another explanation: their ancestors didn't live in towns."

    —Steven Johnson, The Ghost Map (New York: Penguin, 2006), 103–104

    October 1, 2008

  • i didn't know this word could be used metaphorically.

    November 22, 2008

  • "For Tony Adams to confess his alcoholism like that took a lot of bottle."

    - soccer commentator and former player Ian Wright.

    February 16, 2009