Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
December 2nd, 2014
Episode 33 of 900 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for December 02, 2014 is: shopaholic \shah-puh-HAH-lik\ noun : one who is extremely or excessively fond of shopping Examples: Susie is such a shopaholic that her friends refuse to set foot in a mall with her when there are big sales. "Uncle Sam is a shopaholic, the world's most prolific buyer of goods and services. Every year, the federal government spends between $350 billion and $500 billion on procurement." editorial, The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pennsylvania), September 20, 2014 Did you know? The word alcoholic refers to someone who has a serious disorder. Addictive shopping can be serious, too, but the word shopaholic is most often used playfully to suggest mere excess rather than true addiction. Shopaholic first appeared in print in 1983. It was formed on the model of alcoholic, which was itself created many years earlier by combining alcohol with -ic, meaning "of or relating to." People evidently saw a parallel between someone addicted to alcohol and someone "addicted" to shopping. This is not the first time alcoholic has spawned a spinoff wordshopaholic was preceded by workaholic and chocoholic, both of which first turned up in 1968.