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Addicting IS NOT a real word! Could you please let everyone (especially the children) know!

  • Correct form is addictive, as we all know. —⁠This comment was unsigned.
  • "Addicting" IS actually a word, but since it is not an adjective, it is often used incorrectly. As used correctly, it is a verb, meaning "tending to or causing to become addicted." For example, "By drinking too much coffee, I run the risk of addicting myself to caffeine." The WRONG USAGE, as noted by others, would be, for example, "Coffee is addicting." The correct phrase would be, "Coffee is addictive." (Others discuss this further below.)
  • Correction on the above point - addicting is still NOT a word. The correct formation of the sentence above is "By drinking too much coffee, I run the risk of BECOMING ADDICTED to caffeine."
  • Where did you discover this fascinating fact? And if not a word, what exactly is it?
    • A misspelling, or general mistake. Much like when someone uses Imply when they mean Infer.

Ƿidsiþ 21:31, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

It's slang, try define: addicting - it's sad but many 'children' are getting to used to the likes of text speak and slang language - tis is just another example! —⁠This comment was unsigned.

This is not slang. To "addict" in something like its current meaning is relatively new, only a hundred years or so old. Addicting is a normal form of the verb. "Addict" is a verb that is more commonly used in passive rather than active forms, perhaps because the active voice ("I addicted myself to crack.") implies a level of conscious, rational decision making that doesn't seem to fit the facts of how people develop strong habits or addictions. DCDuring TALK 23:12, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Using addicting as an adjective is slang, the correct adjective is "addictive". So while the verb reference in the article is correct, the adjective wrong and misleading. "I find the sauce addictive", "I find the sauce addicting". They do not mean the same thing and causes confusion. The link below discusses this in more detail.
Is text speak not language? Wiktionary aims to cover all language--Simplificationalizer (talk) 22:00, 26 March 2017 (UTC)

Discussion of addictive vs addicting below. Suggest correcting main article to cited reference above, which in turn references 4 mainstream dictionaries. —⁠This comment was unsigned.

Suggest you sign your contributions. I am happy that you have found a usage guide that you like. Wiktionary is descriptive, not prescriptive. Accordingly, we document the language as it is. This does not seem to be a battle worth fighting, being already lost. DCDuring TALK 00:59, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

I found nothing in Grammar Girl, (the source that you cited) that suggests that this is slang or non-standard. She gives a useful discussion of some prescriptive views of others. DCDuring TALK 01:18, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
I think that questions regarding the "proper" use of addictive/addicting are unnecessary, for addicting *is* in common use, however much it may sound, well, strange, to people outside of the US. However, I think perhaps the notes section might be changed to reflect the origin of common use, which is certainly not the obscure medical papers cited in the article. From the same, and only (according to the article), dictionary that contains the word, an editor writes: It seems to be a trend in American English to turn nouns into verbs - now there doesn't need to be a value judgement on this, but it *is* a trend! Given the more common use of the verb as a participle, not the American transitive verb, it seems reasonable to point this out in the article 23:46, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
I only intended to illustrate that it might have started in a narrow context and had some history. Oh yes! We left-ponders are constantly verbing nouns, following Shakespeare, since we never would have been that creative on our own. I'm not sure I understand what you have in mind, but it might run the risk of being encyclopedic. Give it a shot yourself or propose some text here. DCDuring Holiday Greetings! 00:17, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Addictive is more commonly used, so, that's why you seem to think that they are wrong or confused. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines addicting as an adjective that means to cause addiction. Addiction is then defined as an adjective meaning causing or characterized by addiction

Adjective & TransitoryEdit

It is an adjective because is has a comparative form, is gradable, and can appear as predicate ("is addicting").

This applies to addictive, not addicting "More addictive", "Is addictive" —⁠This comment was unsigned.
Please take a look at actual usage on, say, DCDuring TALK 18:07, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Transitory means temporary. You must mean transitive. We are getting rid of that heading. DCDuring TALK 19:27, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

Tea room discussionEdit

Note: the below discussion was moved from the Wiktionary:Tea room.

Is the adjective sense US only? Primarily US?

It doesn't feel like British usage to me, or to the two people discussing it on a talker I'm active on. Thryduulf 13:29, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Of the 126 hits at Google news, approximately none were identifiably from outside the US and more than 100 were identifiably from US, the balance being unidentifiable as to location. I think a US tag is clearly warranted, which warrant I shall execute. DCDuring TALK 18:23, 26 November 2008 (UTC)".
I should have said these hits were for "more addicting than", not "addicting". DCDuring TALK 19:13, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • I've only heard addicting as an adjective in "foreigner English", German speakers specifically come to mind but possibly other Europeans too. — hippietrail 18:54, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Who you callin' a furner, stranger? DCDuring TALK 19:10, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Comparing BNC to COCA indicates a significant difference: there is 1 hit in the BNC for "addicting" (adjectival, from a school essay); on the other hand, there are 87 hits in COCA (85 adjectival, I think). Of course, the COCA is almost four times larger than the BNC, but the Time corpus is supposed to be ~100 million words, like the BNC, and has 13 hits. So there is a definite US/UK difference here. ... I'm not sure how to best determine whether this is US/Canada or just nonstandard in UK.
There doesn't seem be any significant difference in how forms like "very addicting" are distributed between .uk and .com domains. If anything "very addicting" seems to be proportionately more common in .uk, whatever that signifies. -- Visviva 03:20, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
Great. A US tag seems clearly warranted. It doesn't seem to me at all non-standard in the US as an adjective. US usage just seems to have lost connection with the etymological sense of "devote". Instead of "devoting/addicting oneself to a drug", "the drug addicts one to it." DCDuring TALK 03:32, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
This must be a new informal or nonstandard US usage. As I say I'd only heard non native English speakers use it before but Google turns up lots of hits even in books though none of the three big dictionaries I've been able to check have an entry for it at all... yet. — hippietrail 03:44, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
Well, the Time hits go back to 1936, and don't seem particularly informal or nonstandard (the first is a quote from a Dr Eddy about certain experiments on morphine substitutes). I wouldn't be surprised, though, if this originated in sloppy translations from German (which, a century ago, was the premiere language of biochemistry).
I think MW3 tries to cover it at the bottom of their entry for "addict" ([1], subscription only), where they claim an intransitive sense basically meaning "to cause addiction." The only example they give for that sense uses "addicting," and IMO is clearly adjectival. -- Visviva 04:05, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
I'd consider it a bit "off". may be more common in the U.S. than in the U.K., but in neither one is it even one-tenth as common as . —RuakhTALK 03:56, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
Agree with that. Usage note? -- Visviva 04:05, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
"Addictive" means 1. causing or 2. characterised by addiction. "Addicting" seems limited to the causing sense. At b.g.c. the collocation "addicting drugs" gets 752 raw hits whereas "addictive drugs" gets 1102. Perhaps the choice of word reflects a specific view of causality and/or responsibility that may be more prevalent in the US. DCDuring TALK 10:19, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
Despite the apparent negative reaction to this word as adjective from many, especially right-pondians, I don't think this is "off" or informal or colloquial. It might be non-scholarly, but that is not a tag that we have available at present. Books and News have much higher ratios or "addicting" to "addictive" than Scholar and Groups do. If it were colloquial, I would expect its use in fiction to be as in Books as a whole or News. Instead its use in fiction is more like the use in Scholar and Group. It seems to be non-scholarly, non-fiction in the US that is the core of its use. DCDuring TALK 17:40, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

Just FYI: I have never heard this word used here in the UK and believe that the vast majority of Britons would use addictive irrespective of the distinction which addicting invites (per DCDuring).  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 19:55, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

I had never heard of it either. It's not used here (England). Kaixinguo 20:12, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
No dispute on UK. It seems as if it might actually be non-standard in UK and standard in US, judging by usage on Google and reaction here. DCDuring TALK 20:26, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
I have inserted 3 citations of the adjective, expanded the dictionary notes, and added 2 usage notes. One open question is usage outside the US and the UK: Canada, Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, India, Hong Kong, South Africa. We are alone among dictionaries (except for the OED) in having this and are clearly correct to have it. If we alone have an entry for a word like this, then we should make it an OED-quality entry and a WOTD. DCDuring TALK 12:03, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
Oh, the etymology of the evolution of the word from its participial past to its adjectival present in its usage area should be added. I will attempt to find supporting citations for the citations page. DCDuring TALK 12:18, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

Is it a problem that google books:"addicting personality" gets three hits? —RuakhTALK 00:44, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

The ratios of "addictive personality" to "addicting personality" are on the order of 50:1 on Books and Scholar. To say one has an "addicting personality" circles back toward the old reflexive sense of "addicting oneself to" and re-emphasises individual responsibility. There is plenty of opportunity for the distinction to get lost, especially since spell-checkers won't catch it and most usage guides seem to be fighting trans-Atlantic or lost battles instead recognising the dominant US usage pattern. Even if the "pertaining to addiction" sense were added to "addicting" it would seem to be rare. DCDuring TALK 02:07, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
I personally thing think it's a horrible butchery of the word 'addictive' and almost feels misused and non-standard. I only ever see Americans using the term, and it doesn't feel particularly British, so it seems to me an Americanism. In fact it doesn't feel like a real word at all; it just doesn't sound right. I cringe whenever I hear it. Dantai Amakiir 20:20, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
I just realised how scarily coincidental the time and date of my last post was. . . Dantai Amakiir 20:21, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

The word doesn't seem right to me, but then I've only lived in North America for 7 of my 27 years. Certainly it is in more or less interchangeable usage here (in Canada). Just now I heard it used on "The Outer Limits" (most recent version), but I think the "non-standard outside North America" tag may be acceptable. —⁠This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 13:25, 8 January 2009 (UTC).

I'm a reasonably well-read Canadian and I've only started hearing or reading the word "addicting" used as an adjective in the past year or two. "Addicting" is not listed in my copy of Funk & Wagnall's (granted, from 1989). The word irks me so much that I came to Wiktionary to get the final word, as it were. In this Canadian's opinion, "addicting" is strictly U.S. but will probably become Canadian within a half-decade. As a nation we seem to have given up on maintaining our unique language. My daughter is being taught in school that the letter "z" is pronounced "zee", not "zed", but that's another story altogether. [Canuck, January 10, 2009 12:17pm EST]

Scholarly UseEdit

Forgive me if this is incorrectly entered or anything - I'm new to Wiktionary. Personal feelings on this issue aside, here is what I can contribute:

With talk here and elsewhere (e.g. the grammar girl article) of the citations going back to 1939 I thought I would look this up on Web of Knowledge - so this gives a fairly good idea of the degree to which "addicting" and "addictive" are used in the scientific literature.

A search for "addicting*" generates 211 hits. The earliest of these is this: [Title: Unas cuestiones de actualidad sobre narcomania; Author(s): Osvaldo Wolff Pablo J.; Source: MIN INTERIOR DEPT RIG BOL SANIT ARGENTINA; Volume: 3; Issue: (7); Pages: 3-24; Published: 1939] First line of the abstract in WoK: "Definitions of addiction ("asuetud"), habituation and tolerance are considered, and the question of codeine addiction is discussed in detail." I cannot access the original paper in full.

So, does anyone have the 1939 OED citation(s)? Is it this? (I would suspect it is unlikely as I guess this was not originally in English - could the translator of the paper/abstract have brought "addicting" into this example more recently? Either way OED wouldn't use a translation as an original ref, and the doc was probably not in English to start with. So what is this 1939 ref that the OED cite?)

Next hit from above search is this: [Title: THE ADDICTION LIABILITY OF SOME DRUGS OF THE METHADON SERIES; Author(s): ISBELL H; EISENMAN AJ; Source: JOURNAL OF PHARMACOLOGY AND EXPERIMENTAL THERAPEUTICS; Volume: 93; Issue: 3; Pages: 305-313; Published: 1948.] So from that original search this is the first scientific document that I can see that is written in English and which uses the word "addicting". A search in the PDF for "addict" gives 56 hits, including the title use of "Addiction". Also the following key sentences that I selected to give a representative view of how the various different words derived from addict are used, including this as the first line "Since racemic methadon has been shown to be an addicting drug (1, 2, 3), a study of the addiction liability of some other members of the methadon series was undertaken."; "...was studied by administering the drugs subcutaneously to 10 men strongly addicted to morphine..."; "Temperatures, pulse rates, and respiratory rates were elevated above preaddiction values in all 5 subjects."; "Ten post-addicts, who had been abstinent from morphine for 3 months or more..."; "Levomethadon appears to account for all of the addiction liability of racemic methadon as well as for all of its analgesic action."; "Isomethadon must also be classed as an addictive substance." Final sentence: "Isomethadon is an addicting drug." (I deleted one or two hyphens where things bridged lines, but otherwise verbatim - i.e. no technical terms were de-hyphened).

Summary of that 1948 American paper: 2 uses of "addicting", 1 use of "addictive". Can someone better at languages (and maybe pharmacology) compare their usage in hardcore grammatical terms, please?

Another American paper from Dec 1948 is [THE NEWER ANALGESIC DRUGS - THEIR USE AND ABUSE; Author(s): ISBELL, H (ISBELL, H); Source: ANNALS OF INTERNAL MEDICINE; Volume: 29; Issue: 6; Pages: 1003-1013; Published: 1948.] I cannot access the full paper.

WoK graph of publications containing "addicting*" per year shows: 1*1939, 2*1948, 2*1953, 1*1955, 1*1956, 1*1957, then 4*1959 - after this the term starts to see more constant and frequent use, although 1969, 1972 and 1983 have no publications using it, while 2008 has only one. (Obviously other papers may contain it, but it isn't in the database.)

A citations per year graph shows a more steady increase, with about 200 citations last year. A rough average (by eye) for the number of citations per year for the period 2000-2005 is about 130, then for 2006-2010 it is about 185 per year.

So like it or not, just as on the internet, "addicting" is getting more scientific traffic.

Just as a comparison, an otherwise identical search for "addictive*" yields *approximately* 27,776 hits - i.e. so many that the system is potentially approximating. That's too many to get a citation report (has to be under 10k), so I cut it down by choosing Science, then Pharmacy & Pharmacology ([Topic=(addictive*); Refined by: General Categories=( SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY ) AND Subject Areas=( PHARMACOLOGY PHARMACY ) Timespan=All Years. Lemmatization=On]) and that conveniently gave 9,148 records. Last year about 500 papers had the term "addictive*" in them at a high enough level to get a hit (e.g. often in the keywords, title, etc. - although as with the 1939 paper - sometimes in an obscure part of the text), while the number of citations was about 13,500.

Some numbers...

"addicting*": Results found: 211 Sum of the Times Cited: 3907 Sum of Times Cited without self-citations: 3886 Citing Articles: 3681 Citing Articles without self-citations: 3667 Average Citations per Item: 18.52 h-index: 30

"addictive*": Results found: 9148 Sum of the Times Cited: 129361 Sum of Times Cited without self-citations: 116750 Citing Articles: 67342 Citing Articles without self-citations: 64645 Average Citations per Item: 23.66 h-index: 143

A combination of both terms: "addicting* AND addictive*" Results found: 46 Sum of the Times Cited : 1799 Sum of Times Cited without self-citations: 1796 Citing Articles: 1746 Citing Articles without self-citations: 1744 Average Citations per Item: 39.11 h-index: 18

As a comparison: "methadone*" Approximately 40,965 hits.

Refined to give a usable number of hits for citation report: [Topic=(methadone*) Refined by: General Categories=( SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY ) AND Subject Areas=( PHARMACOLOGY PHARMACY ) AND Publication Years=( 2009 OR 2011 OR 2010 OR 2008 OR 2001 OR 2006 OR 2007 OR 2002 OR 2005 OR 2003 OR 2004 OR 2000 ) Timespan=All Years. Lemmatization=On]

Results found: 9381 Sum of the Times Cited : 59575 Sum of Times Cited without self-citations: 42644 Citing Articles: 25729 Citing Articles without self-citations: 22916 Average Citations per Item: 11.33 h-index: 84

Good work if you plowed/ploughed through all this ;) Hope someone might find it mildly interesting. Azide (talk) 13:25, 16 June 2012 (UTC)

Return to "addicting" page.