Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To yield to the desires and whims of, especially to an excessive degree; humor.
  • transitive v. To yield to; gratify: indulge a craving for chocolate.
  • transitive v. To allow (oneself) unrestrained gratification: indulged herself with idle daydreams. See Synonyms at pamper.
  • transitive v. Roman Catholic Church To grant an ecclesiastical indulgence or dispensation to.
  • intransitive v. To indulge oneself: eyed the desserts but didn't indulge.
  • intransitive v. To engage or take part, especially freely or avidly: indulged in outrageous behavior; indulged in all the latest fads.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. : To yield to a temptation or desire.
  • v. To satisfy the wishes or whims of.
  • v. To grant an extension to the deadline of a payment.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To be complacent toward; to give way to; not to oppose or restrain.
  • transitive v. to give free course to; to give one's self up to;
  • transitive v. to yield to the desire of; to gratify by compliance; to humor; to withhold restraint from
  • transitive v. To grant as by favor; to bestow in concession, or in compliance with a wish or request.
  • intransitive v. To indulge one's self; to gratify one's tastes or desires; esp., to give one's self up (to); to practice a forbidden or questionable act without restraint; -- followed by in, but formerly, also, by to.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To be kind or complaisant to; yield to the wish or humor of; gratify by compliance; refrain from restraining; humor: as, to indulge a child.
  • To grant, as a favor; bestow in compliance with desire or petition; accord.
  • To give way to; give free course to: as, to indulge a propensity or a passion.
  • Synonyms Humor, etc. (see gratify); favor, pamper.
  • To gratify one's self freely; give free course to the gratification of one's desires or appetites: followed by in before the object of desire, etc.: as, to indulge in the use of tobacco.
  • To yield; give way: with to.

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

  • v. yield (to); give satisfaction to
  • v. enjoy to excess
  • v. treat with excessive indulgence
  • v. give free rein to

Etymologies

Latin indulgēre.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the Latin indulgeō ("I indulge"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • That large order of large “Natural-Cut French Fries” that I like to order when I indulge is another 500 calories.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » The Double Standard of Libertarian Paternalism

  • That every bad habit in which you indulge is shortening the life of some of your faculties, and that God Himself cannot save you from the doom which you are earning, deserving, and working out for yourself every day and every hour.

    The Water of Life and Other Sermons

  • The case supposed, that our own hand, or eye, or foot, offend us; that the impure corruption we indulge is as dear to us as an eye or a hand, or that that which is to us as an eye or a hand, is become an invisible temptation to sin, or occasion of it.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume V (Matthew to John)

  • Their master knew no peace of mind till, having passed the narrows, he found on some moor or common "plenty o 'sea-room," notwithstanding the danger that "plenty o 'sea-room" might induce the too artful Teddy to "turn topsails under," or in other words indulge in

    The Dew of Their Youth

  • There is a sort of listlessness -- or, perhaps, more properly, reverie -- in which many indulge, which is as sinful as it is unprofitable; and there are modes of thinking and subjects of thought, which are, to say the least, unworthy of a rational, intelligent and immortal spirit.

    The Young Woman's Guide

  • This is a most vexing thing, when persons professing the Christian name indulge themselves in a liberty to walk at random; are impatient of restraints; affect libertinism; have not refrained their feet but have loved to wander: therefore the Lord doth not accept them; he will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins.

    The Whole Works of the Rev. John Howe, M.A. with a Memoir of the Author. Vol. VI.

  • Bellville, does not the very word indulge shew the sensation to be pleasurable?

    The history of Lady Julia Mandeville

  • But you object, 'Must our love to the unbaptized indulge them in an act of disobedience?

    Works of John Bunyan — Volume 02

  • Of course, the biggest attraction is that it presents a unique opportunity to "indulge" and to "learn about ourselves" and maybe you make or lose money.

    Morris Ruskin: Investing In The Movies

  • Where banks are contracting, where typical investments may have failed people, there is an opportunity to "indulge" in a business that seems to be recession proof, yet do so in a conservative and smart way, like the banks.

    Morris Ruskin: Investing In The Movies

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