alcoholism

[al-kuh-haw-liz-uhm, -ho-]
noun Pathology.
a chronic disorder characterized by dependence on alcohol, repeated excessive use of alcoholic beverages, the development of withdrawal symptoms on reducing or ceasing intake, morbidity that may include cirrhosis of the liver, and decreased ability to function socially and vocationally.


Origin:
1855–60; alcohol + -ism

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World English Dictionary
alcoholism (ˈælkəhɒˌlɪzəm)
 
n
a condition in which dependence on alcohol harms a person's health, social functioning, or family life

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

alcoholism
"disease of alcohol addiction," 1852, from alcohol + -ism or elese from Mod.L. alcoholismus, coined in 1852 by Swed. professor of medicine Magnus Huss (1807-1890) to mean what we now would call "alcohol poisoning." In earlier times, alcoholism would have been habitual drunkenness or some such term.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

alcoholism al·co·hol·ism (āl'kə-hô-lĭz'əm)
n.

  1. The compulsive consumption of and psychophysiological dependence on alcoholic beverages.

  2. A chronic, progressive pathological condition, mainly affecting the nervous and digestive systems, caused by the excessive and habitual consumption of alcohol. Also called chronic alcoholism.

  3. Temporary mental disturbance and muscular incoordination caused by excessive consumption of alcohol. Also called acute alcoholism.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
alcoholism   (āl'kə-hô-lĭz'əm)  Pronunciation Key 
A progressive, potentially fatal disease characterized by the excessive and compulsive consumption of alcoholic beverages and physiological and psychological dependence on alcohol. Chronic alcoholism usually results in liver and other organ damage, nutritional deficiencies and impaired social functioning.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

alcoholism definition


A chronic disease associated with the excessive and habitual use of alcohol; the disease, if left unattended, worsens and can kill the sufferer. Alcoholism is marked by physical dependency and can cause disorders in many organs of the body, including the liver (see cirrhosis), stomach, intestines, and brain. It is also associated with abnormal heart rhythms, with certain cancers, and, because of loss of appetite, with poor nutrition. The cause of alcoholism is very complicated and most often involves a mixture of physical, psychological, and possibly genetic factors.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences for +alcoholism
Their mother had struggled with alcoholism since her own teens.
Aa promotes the idea that recovery from alcoholism entails more than not drinking.
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