Hi Snarky. Is addicting a word? I hear people say it all the time, but my teacher says the correct word is addictive.Addictive is an adjective that means causing addiction or being vulnerable to addiction. That coffee is so addictive. He has an addictive personality.
In recent years, some people have started using addicting interchangeably with addictive. But is addicting really a word? I checked three dictionaries and found addicting listed in just one of them: Merriam-Webster. Curiously, M-W assigns an identical definition to both addictive and addicting: causing or relating to a physiological need for certain drugs.
That's not to say dictionaries always get it right. For example, I think it was a mistake when M-W admitted the slang word 'chillax,' which is still far too new and trendy to be in a dictionary. In my opinion, words shouldn't enter dictionaries until they've proven their staying power.
But here's the deal: English is a stretchable, ever-expanding language that creates new words all the time. It's hard to pinpoint the precise moment when a word moves from fad to full-fledged acceptance. It's clear that addicting has become prevalent in conversation, but the media seems torn. The New York Times and The Atlantic seem to have a clear preference for addictive, but addicting has started to surface in other media outlets.
- Fox News: Why is the Spirit of the Olympic Games so Addicting?
- Yale News: Is Food Addicting? Not so Fast, Yale Researchers Caution
The verdict: I would concede that addicting is a legitimate word, simply because of its widespread use. But I would also argue that the better choice is addictive. Why use addicting when addictive already exists and means exactly the same thing?