- the act or practice of indulging; gratification of desire.
- the state of being indulgent.
- indulgent allowance or tolerance.
- a catering to someone’s mood or whim; humoring: The sick man demanded indulgence as his due.
- something indulged in: Her favorite indulgence was candy.
- Roman Catholic Church. a partial remission of the temporal punishment, especially purgatorial atonement, that is still due for a sin or sins after absolution.Compare plenary indulgence.
- English and Scottish History. (in the reigns of Charles II and James II) a grant by the king to Protestant dissenters and Roman Catholics freeing them from certain penalties imposed, by legislation, because of their religion.
- Commerce. an extension, through favor, of time for payment or performance.
verb (used with object), in·dul·genced, in·dul·genc·ing.
- Roman Catholic Church. to provide with an indulgence: an indulgenced pilgrimage to Rome.
- the act of indulging or state of being indulgent
- a pleasure, habit, etc, indulged in; extravagancefur coats are an indulgence
- liberal or tolerant treatment
- something granted as a favour or privilege
- RC Church a remission of the temporal punishment for sin after its guilt has been forgiven
- commerce an extension of time granted as a favour for payment of a debt or as fulfilment of some other obligation
- Also called: Declaration of Indulgence a royal grant during the reigns of Charles II and James II of England giving Nonconformists and Roman Catholics a measure of religious freedom
- RC Church to designate as providing indulgenceindulgenced prayers
mid-14c., “freeing from temporal punishment for sin,” from Old French indulgence or directly from Latin indulgentia “complaisance, fondness, remission,” from indulgentem (nominative indulgens) “indulgent, kind, tender, fond,” present participle of indulgere “be kind, yield,” of unknown origin; perhaps from in- “in” + derivative of PIE root *dlegh- “to engage oneself.”
Sense of “gratification of another’s desire or humor” is attested from late 14c. That of “yielding to one’s inclinations” (technically self-indulgence) is from 1640s. In British history, Indulgence also refers to grants of certain liberties to Nonconformists under Charles II and James II, as special favors rather than legal rights; specifically the Declarations of Indulgence of 1672, 1687, and 1688 in England and 1669, 1672, and 1687 in Scotland.