Definition of chronic in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈkrɒnɪk/


1(Of an illness) persisting for a long time or constantly recurring: chronic bronchitis Often contrasted with acute.
More example sentences
  • People with chronic respiratory or cardiovascular illness or immune system diseases are also more susceptible than others to pollutants.
  • The clinical infection is characterized by chronic fever and hepatosplenomegaly.
  • They come seeking help for work-related stress, irregular sleeping hours, unhealthy food habits and chronic fatigue.
persistent, long-standing, long-term, constantly recurring;
rare immedicable
1.1(Of a person) having a chronic illness: a chronic asthmatic
More example sentences
  • The nurse or nurse practitioner will be able to see additional patients and follow up with chronic patients, which will free up the physician's time to see more new and complex patients.
  • This lifestyle began to go badly wrong from the age of forty-four, when his horse rolled on him in a tournament, crippling one leg and leaving him a chronic invalid.
  • In chronic patients, there are more acute phases, more ups and downs.
1.2(Of a problem) long-lasting: the school suffers from chronic overcrowding
More example sentences
  • Because the job requires its workers to be away from home, there is a chronic driver shortage.
  • Poor countries face chronic crises so dire that the world's sensibilities have been numbed to them.
  • The problem is that there is a chronic need to address poor turnout.
constant, continuing, continual, ceaseless, incessant, unabating, unending, persistent, perennial, long-lasting, lingering;
deep-rooted, deep-seated, ineradicable;
severe, serious, acute, grave, dire
1.3(Of a person) having a bad habit: a chronic liar
More example sentences
  • That Moore is a chronic liar and twister of the truth obviously needs to be publicized as much as possible.
  • Mike is a chronic liar, a Peter Pan figure who has trouble paying his bills and facing up to anything that whiffs of adult responsibility.
  • How can you end a relationship with a chronic liar?
inveterate, confirmed, hardened, dyed-in-the-wool, incorrigible, habitual;
compulsive, pathological
2British informal Of a very poor quality: the film was absolutely chronic
More example sentences
  • Is it a desire to draw attention away from his poor to chronic domestic policy record?
  • The new big noise displayed a chronic lack of professionalism and failed hopelessly to live up to his billing.



Pronunciation: /krɒˈnɪsɪti/
Example sentences
  • With this patient then, the issues of chronicity, pervasiveness, ‘level of distress’, etc. would calibrate the application of any specific technique.
  • A complete blood cell count with differential is sometimes useful to assess the illness further, in terms of detecting the severity of the infection, presence of associated conditions, and chronicity of infection.
  • What I would like to see more research on is the chronicity of these illnesses.


Late Middle English: from French chronique, via Latin from Greek khronikos 'of time', from khronos 'time'.

  • Words beginning chron- have something to do with time: the root being Greek khronos ‘time’. A chronic illness is one that persists for a long time. In informal British English the word can also mean ‘of very poor quality’, as in ‘the film was chronic’, a sense developing from the idea of unending tedium. See also anachronism, crony

Words that rhyme with chronic

anachronic, animatronic, bionic, Brythonic, bubonic, Byronic, canonic, carbonic, catatonic, chalcedonic, colonic, conic, cyclonic, daemonic, demonic, diatonic, draconic, electronic, embryonic, euphonic, harmonic, hegemonic, histrionic, homophonic, hypersonic, iconic, ionic, ironic, isotonic, laconic, macaronic, Masonic, Miltonic, mnemonic, monotonic, moronic, Napoleonic, philharmonic, phonic, Platonic, Plutonic, polyphonic, quadraphonic, sardonic, saxophonic, siphonic, Slavonic, sonic, stereophonic, subsonic, subtonic, symphonic, tectonic, Teutonic, thermionic, tonic, transonic, ultrasonic

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: chron¦ic

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.