indulgent

Someone who is self-indulgent gives themselves a lot of treats. Parents who are indulgent cave to every desire their child expresses. Indulgent means lenient, or overly generous.

Indulgent is a word that, here in Puritanical North America, is hard to know how to take. Is it okay to “indulge yourself” as so many spa advertisements suggest? Or is indulgent always associated with excess? You can indulge fantasies of figuring out the answer, or you can give in to an indulgent shrug and move on to another word.

Definitions of indulgent
  1. adjective
    characterized by or given to yielding to the wishes of someone
    indulgent grandparents”
    Synonyms:
    gluttonous
    given to excess in consumption of especially food or drink
    decadent, effete
    marked by excessive self-indulgence and moral decay
    betting, card-playing, dissipated, sporting
    preoccupied with the pursuit of pleasure and especially games of chance
    epicurean, luxuriant, luxurious, sybaritic, voluptuary, voluptuous
    displaying luxury and furnishing gratification to the senses
    gay
    given to social pleasures often including dissipation
    epicurean, hedonic, hedonistic
    devoted to pleasure
    hard, heavy, intemperate
    given to excessive indulgence of bodily appetites especially for intoxicating liquors
    overindulgent
    excessively indulgent
    pampering
    gratifying tastes, appetites, or desires
    decadent, self-indulgent
    indulgent of your own appetites and desires
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    Antonyms:
    nonindulgent, strict
    characterized by strictness, severity, or restraint
    abstemious
    sparing in consumption of especially food and drink
    austere, stern
    of a stern or strict bearing or demeanor; forbidding in aspect
    blue, puritanic, puritanical
    morally rigorous and strict
    corrective, disciplinal, disciplinary
    designed to promote discipline
    monkish
    befitting a monk; inclined to self-denial
    renunciant, renunciative, self-abnegating, self-denying
    used especially of behavior
    self-disciplined, self-restraining
    used of nonindulgent persons
    severe, spartan
    unsparing and uncompromising in discipline or judgment
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  2. adjective
    tolerant or lenient
    indulgent parents risk spoiling their children”
    synonyms: lenient, soft
    permissive
    granting or inclined or able to grant permission; not strict in discipline
  3. adjective
    being favorably inclined
    “an indulgent attitude”
    Synonyms:
    favorable, favourable
    encouraging or approving or pleasing
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