Idiomatic Vocabulary 6: ‘~olic’

By | July 1, 2015

The Noun Phrase

  [Word stem]-olicalcoholic

Its Definition

Indicating that you are addicted or highly dependent on something

Discussion

This phrase is useful because it can describe many more extremes of behaviour, and has a fun and upbeat feel. It all comes from the formal word, ‘alcoholic’, with the ‘-holic’ suffix now being attached to many words to show a similar dependence on various forms of goods or behaviour. Many of these now appear in dictionaries, such as workaholic, shopaholic, and chocoholic.

The suffix can be playfully twisted (with the appropriate fun intonation and facial expressions) to show even greater flexibility, giving words such as…

I’m a bit of a …

coffeeholic.

chess-aholic.

bookaholic.

sleepaholic.

surfaholic.

swimaholic.

The formal forms ‘alcoholic’, ‘workaholic’, ‘shopaholic’, and a few others, can be used in writing, but all the rest (immediately above) are too playful to be in IELTS Writing.

Example Sentences

In IELTS Speaking

  • “Sometimes I think I’m a coffeeholic, the way I drink the stuff.”
  • “Stereotypically, of course, women are assumed to be shopaholics.”
  • “I’m a bit of a workaholic, I’m afraid.”
Author: Andrew

Andrew Guilfoyle Cambridge CELTA, Cambridge DELTA, Cambridge CELTA teacher-trainer, M.Ed