Wednesday, January 16

What Kind of “Aholic” Are You?

Have you watched the movie “Confessions of a Shopaholic?”

The story was originally a series of novels written by British author Sophie Kinsella, before it was adapted for film.

Guys might not be familiar with this, but girls are. And because girls know this movie very well, guys should make an effort to watch it.


The main character in this film is a “shopaholic.” Do you know what that is?

A “shopaholic” is a person (often a girl) who is crazy about shopping. This person spends a lot of cash or credit on shoes, bags, coats etc. This person also usually does impulse buying.

Impulse buying” is the act of buying something because you see it and you suddenly want it. In other words, no plan. As you can imagine, this can be a very expensive habit. 

The word “shopaholic” means someone who likes shopping a lot and who can’t stop doing it.

Why? Where did this word come from?


Everything started with the word “alcoholic.” This word means a person who has a habit of drinking too much alcohol and it’s difficult for him or her to stop.

all images courtesy of stock.xchng

After this word, other words using the ending “+aholic” or “+holic” followed.

You can see the words below with the approximate year when they were first used:

sugarholic (1965)

foodoholic (1965)

workaholic (1968)

golfaholic (1971)

chocoholic (1971)

shopaholic (1984)

As you can see from the way “+aholic” was used, it became a Suffix.

Now what is a Suffix?

A Suffix is a letter or letters that we add to the end of a word. By using a Suffix, we can make a new word.

For example,

Happy + Ness (Suffix) = Happiness

Calm + Ly (Suffix) =  Calmly

You can add the Suffix+aholic” to the end of a Verb or more often a Noun. If you do this, the new word will change meaning. It will have the meaning of a person who likes something very much and who can’t stop doing the thing.

If we go back to our examples:

sugarholic = someone who loves sugar or food with sugar

foodoholic = someone who loves eating

workaholic = someone who loves work or works too much

golfaholic = someone who loves golf

chocoholic (or chocaholic) = someone who loves chocolates

shopaholic = someone who loves shopping

Are You a Workaholic?

Usually, when we use the Suffix+aholic,” it’s friendly and not too serious.

But sometimes, like the original word “alcoholic,” it has a serious meaning. It might be a real medical condition. As we all know, even though it feels good, too much of anything is bad. It’s bad for your own or your friend’s health, and you probably need the help of a professional – a doctor or a psychologist*.

*psychologist = a doctor who studies the mind and behavior 

For example, a “workaholic” person may have a successful career, but he or she doesn't have enough time to enjoy the many other parts of life. 

Here are the Top 5 Most Workaholic People in the World according to a recent survey conducted by Ipsos Global and Reuters:

#1. Japanese

#2. Australians

#3. South Africans

#4. South Koreans

#5. Americans

Other +Aholics

If you still don’t know what kind of “+aholic” you are, don’t worry. Here are other words you can use to describe yourself:

movieholic = someone who loves movies

sexaholic = someone who loves sex

Facebookholic = someone who loves Facebook

bookaholic = someone who loves books

sleepaholic = someone who loves to sleep

coffeeholic = someone who loves coffee


Right now, it seems like we are free to make any kind of word that we want if we add the Suffix+aholic.”

This is true, but not completely.

First of all, you have to remember that when you use the Suffix+aholic,” your language becomes casual or informal.

Second, even though most people can understand you when you make a new word using “+aholic,” sometimes it’s not a common expression.

For example, the word “smokaholic.”

According to our rule, a “smokaholic” means a person who is crazy about smoking so he or she has difficulty stopping.

Yes, people will understand what you mean if you say “smokaholic.”

But in fact, compared to the other words we’ve mentioned above, “smokaholic” isn’t so commonly used.

Most people prefer to use other expressions such as: 

chain smoker, heavy smoker, cigarette fiend, nicotine fiend, smokestack, a regular chimney etc.

Other Expressions 

If you want, there are expressions you can use instead of "+aholic." They are: 

________ + lover = weaker but more positive meaning 

________ + addict = stronger but can be more negative 

In Summary

It’s good for you to practice the Suffix+aholic,” so you can make more English words and increase your Vocabulary. At the same time, it can make you feel how free and creative the English language is.

But also, before you use the new word that you made, you should check with your dictionary (or the Internet) first if the word is quite common or very unusual.

Because making your meaning clear in a situation and copying how other people use the language are also important.

So, what kind of "+aholic" are you? 

Keep on learning !

P.S. If you are a “smokaholic,” you might be interested in this topic:

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