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

  • n. The act or an instance of indulging; gratification: indulgence of every whim.
  • n. The state of being indulgent.
  • n. The act of indulging in something: indulgence in irresponsible behavior.
  • n. Something indulged in: Sports cars are an expensive indulgence.
  • n. Liberal or lenient treatment; tolerance: treated their grandchildren with fond indulgence.
  • n. Self-indulgence: a life of wealth and indulgence.
  • n. Something granted as a favor or privilege.
  • n. Permission to extend the time of payment or performance.
  • n. Patient attention: I beg your indulgence for just a few minutes.
  • n. Roman Catholic Church The remission of temporal punishment still due for a sin that has been sacramentally absolved.
  • transitive v. Roman Catholic Church To attach an indulgence to.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. the act of indulging
  • n. tolerance
  • n. catering to someone's every desire
  • n. something in which someone indulges
  • n. A pardon or release from the expectation of punishment in purgatory, after the sinner has been granted absolution.
  • v. (Roman Catholic Church) to provide with an indulgence

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of indulging or humoring; the quality of being indulgent; forbearance of restrain or control.
  • n. An indulgent act; favor granted; gratification.
  • n. Remission of the temporal punishment due to sins, after the guilt of sin has been remitted by sincere repentance; absolution from the censures and public penances of the church. It is a payment of the debt of justice to God by the application of the merits of Christ and his saints to the contrite soul through the church. It is therefore believed to diminish or destroy for sins the punishment of purgatory.
  • transitive v. To grant an indulgence to.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of indulging; forbearance of restraint or control; gratification of desire or humor; also, the character of being indulgent.
  • n. Something with which one is indulged or gratified; a favor granted; an act of grace.
  • n. In com., forbearance of present payment; an extension, through favor, of the time in which a debt can be paid: as, to grant an indulgence of three months on a note.
  • n. In Roman Catholic theology: Remission of sins: used in this sense by the earlier ecclesiastical writers.
  • n. A remission of the punishment which is still due to sin after sacramental absolution, this remission being valid in the court of conscience and before God, and being made by an application of the treasure of the church on the part of a lawful superior. Eusebius Amort, History of Indulgences, quoted in Cath. Dict.
  • n. Relaxation of an ecclesiastical law, or exemption of a particular individual from its provisions: properly called dispensation.
  • n. In Scottish history, in the reigns of Charles II. and James II., permission to hold religious services.
  • n. A proclamation by Charles II. In 1671 or 1672, promising the suspension of penal laws relating to ecclesiastical matters which were directed against nonconformists. It was rejected by Parliament.
  • n. A proclamation by James II. in 1687, annulling penal laws against Roman Catholics and nonconformists, and abolishing religious tests for office. The refusal to read this declaration by several prelates led to their trial, and was one of the causes of the revolution of 1688.

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

  • n. an inability to resist the gratification of whims and desires
  • n. a disposition to yield to the wishes of someone
  • n. the remission by the pope of the temporal punishment in purgatory that is still due for sins even after absolution
  • n. the act of indulging or gratifying a desire
  • n. foolish or senseless behavior


From Middle French indulgence, or its source, Latin indulgentia. (Wiktionary)



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  • "The Renaissance was an age in which more individuals felt the value of
    their human being. Martin Luther was nailed to the church door at
    Wittenberg for selling papal indulgences. He died a horrible death, being
    excommunicated by a bull. It was the painter Donatello's interest in the
    female nude that made him the father of the Renaissance. It was an age of
    great inventions and discoveries. Gutenberg invented the Bible. Sir Walter
    Raleigh is a historical figure because he invented cigarettes. Another
    important invention was the circulation of blood. Sir Francis Drake
    circumcised the world with a 100-foot clipper."
    - supposedly 'pasted together from real sentences written by
    students on history exams in the U.S.',

    February 1, 2009

  • Former Catholic pardon granted for remission of punishment for sins.

    May 25, 2008

  • I added this word because of its usage in Roman Catholicism.

    July 18, 2007