Meaning of chronic in English:


Pronunciation /ˈkrɒnɪk/

See synonyms for chronic

Translate chronic into Spanish


  • 1(of an illness) persisting for a long time or constantly recurring.

    Often contrasted with acute

    ‘chronic bronchitis’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘These affect both the structure and vibration of the vocal cords and causes chronic changes in the quality of voice.’
    • ‘I'm especially under pressure on this because of my dad's age and chronic poor health.’
    • ‘The only thing we can say for certain is that we still have a lot to learn about the relation between cancer and chronic inflammation.’
    • ‘We found that chronic bronchitis and current smoking were independent and additive risk factors for snoring.’
    • ‘Leishmaniasis should be considered in any person from an endemic area who has chronic localized skin lesions.’
    • ‘These included 105 patients who presented with persistent chronic diarrhoea and 48 patients without diarrhoea.’
    • ‘Its people suffer from chronic malnutrition and a high annual population growth rate.’
    • ‘Discoid lupus erythematosus is a chronic disease characterized by inflammatory, scarring lesions.’
    • ‘Critics believe these irritants cause heart attacks, lung and bladder cancer, chronic asthma, bronchitis and even hay fever.’
    • ‘For the most part, therapy of chronic asthma consisted of treating bronchospastic episodes as they arose by using medications intermittently.’
    • ‘Living with an invisible chronic illness can mean constantly trying to redefine your condition.’
    • ‘The states previously had reserved the vaccine for older adults, infants and people with chronic medical conditions.’
    • ‘We randomised patients managed by general physicians and general practitioners, who care for most people with chronic heart failure.’
    • ‘Studies show that hypnosis can treat everything from chronic pain to poor study habits.’
    • ‘There are difficulties in managing communication with young people who have a chronic, life threatening illness.’
    • ‘These drugs, and certain more powerful compounds such as piroxicam are important because they are used for the treatment of pain and inflammation in chronic diseases such as arthritis.’
    • ‘Many students endured poor living conditions and chronic ill health, thanks to the prevalence of tuberculosis and other diseases.’
    • ‘Funding restrictions mean chronic staff shortages and cuts to services, producing long waiting lists and public health breakdowns.’
    persistent, long-standing, long-term, constantly recurring
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1(of a person) having a chronic illness.
      ‘a chronic asthmatic’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The council was branded heartless at the time because Kay suffers from spina bifida and Pearson is a chronic asthmatic.’
      • ‘I was a chronic patient with a ten-year history of back pain.’
      • ‘For the artist, hailed on his death as ‘the greatest British painter since Turner’, was a chronic asthmatic, and the illness suffuses his paintings.’
      • ‘These patients were chronic, relapsing patients who came to a known addiction evaluation and treatment setting.’
      • ‘Richard Kramer, head of policy, told the British Medical Journal it might reduce the risk of overdose and could suit chronic users.’
      • ‘The focus of the adult euthanasia program was on adult chronic patients, especially mental patients.’
      • ‘Like a chronic patient fearing his final moment or wishing for a miracle to happen, Indian football lives on eternal hope.’
      • ‘I see it frequently at work with my chronic patients.’
      • ‘Sodium sulfites can be fatal to chronic asthmatics.’
      • ‘Ms Brown said Jack is a chronic asthmatic and was stressed at the time.’
      • ‘He was a chronic alcoholic and had severe problems in disciplining his work, which went through innumerable revisions.’
      • ‘The vast majority of amnesic patients are chronic alcoholics, suffering from Korsakoff's syndrome.’
    2. 1.2(of a problem) long-lasting.
      ‘the school suffers from chronic overcrowding’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A terrible drought last year sparked chronic food shortages this year.’
      • ‘He was interested in exploring the possibilities of having nuclear power to overcome the chronic energy deficit in his country.’
      • ‘Britain's chronic teacher shortage forced a number of state schools to introduce a four-day week earlier this month.’
      • ‘They have been a chronic problem in coastal areas in recent years, particularly in the New Forest, the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth.’
      • ‘The new homes will be a world away from the 160,000 prefabs built to address the chronic housing shortage after the Second World War.’
      • ‘Hospitals in Greater Manchester are spending millions of pounds hiring private doctors to help cope with chronic staff shortages.’
      • ‘So the MTA, squeezed from both the cost and the revenue sides, runs chronic operating deficits that are about to become unsustainable.’
      • ‘I'm more worried about what will happen to the Lions if they don't sort out their chronic problems at the breakdown in time for the first Test at Christchurch.’
      • ‘Some of those children will find their way out of a cycle of poverty, poor education and chronic unemployment and eventually make satisfying lives and careers.’
      • ‘But we have a chronic shortage of secondary school places which means that a huge number of Hackney children are travelling a quarter of the way round London every day.’
      • ‘The country has been struggling with an economic crisis marked by chronic budget deficits and a national debt that is 116 percent of gross domestic product.’
      • ‘Hundreds of children with severe psychological problems are not getting the help they urgently need because of a chronic staff shortage in Scotland's hospitals.’
      • ‘Residents-only parking was introduced in 1996 to end the chronic problem of commuters parking their cars on residential street to avoid using car parks.’
      • ‘Exasperated by the apparent chronic incompetence of the new Children and Family Court Advisory Service, he sacked the entire board.’
      • ‘They insist that a pay rise is essential to attract new medical personnel and overcome chronic staff shortages.’
      • ‘The Worcester House residence was rented by the university two years ago to ease chronic student accommodation shortages at the campus here.’
      • ‘What is wrong with the system is chronic under-funding, largely of the fiscal service.’
      constant, continuing, continual, ceaseless, incessant, unabating, unending, persistent, perennial, long-lasting, lingering
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    3. 1.3(of a person) having a bad habit.
      ‘a chronic liar’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Dennis had several siblings, but he was the only chronic liar.’
      • ‘Several years ago, I was in a relationship with a chronic cheater.’
      • ‘A generation ago over two thirds of chronic gamblers bet on the horses, only one in five played on the poker machines.’
      • ‘These bus drivers have managed to amass a well-earned reputation as being the most aggressive and reckless drivers in a country of poor roads and chronic speeders.’
      • ‘But a chronic victim owns it to herself or himself to seriously explore their own participation in a relationship of continuing abuse.’
      • ‘He says with 300,000 Australians now considered chronic gamblers, it's time the Federal Government took some responsibility.’
      • ‘One of the translations Andrew suggests is a chronically unlucky person, or perhaps walking disaster, chronic loser or even just loser if pressed for time.’
      • ‘The Wests are not all that bad, as chronic criminals go.’
      • ‘I had thought they were chronic gamblers.’
      • ‘As a chronic crowd avoider, I was fairly inclined to that camp.’
      • ‘He is also a chronic troublemaker and the father of a bunch of great kids.’
      • ‘But at betting on the nags, as any regular reader will know, I am a chronic loser, a completely hopeless case.’
      inveterate, confirmed, hardened, dyed-in-the-wool, incorrigible, habitual
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  • 2British informal Of a very poor quality.

    • ‘the film was absolutely chronic’
    • ‘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.’
    very bad, appalling, awful, dreadful, terrible, frightful, atrocious, hopeless, abominable, laughable, lamentable, execrable
    View synonyms


Late Middle English from French chronique, via Latin from Greek khronikos ‘of time’, from khronos ‘time’.