When and where did the -holic in alcoholic get added to words like shopaholic? The Online Etymology Dictionary lists some dates for an array of words formed using the suffix, but it doesn't show whether the origin was in the US, UK, or somewhere else, and it doesn't cite sources for the dates:

word-forming element abstracted from alcoholic; first in sugarholic (1965), foodoholic (sic., 1965); later in workaholic (1968), golfaholic (1971), chocoholic (1971), ....

The place of origin and sources of the dates for the words are also not cited at the linked entry in Dictionary.com.


The earliest attestation in OED Online is 1947 for 'workaholic'. Other dates for other words formed with the '-aholic' suffix (note the weak linking vowel is sometimes 'a', sometimes 'o', sometimes absent) include 1954 for 'tobaccoholic', 1955 'sugarholic' and 'milkaholic', 1957 'cake-aholic', 1961 'chocoholic', 1965 'foodaholic', 1971 'golfaholic', 1973 'carboholic', 1977 'shopaholic', 1979 'newsaholic', 1982 'spend-a-holic', 1986 'infoholic', 1988 'rageaholic', 1989 'negaholic' ("habitually pessimistic") and 'cruise-oholic', 1994 'sexaholic'.

Early attestations for most of the '-holic' words are from the US; 'workaholic', however, the earliest formation from the '-aholic' suffix, is attested from a Toronto, Canada newspaper, the Toronto Daily Star.

Thus far, my research (continuing) has antedated the 1977 OED attestation for 'shopaholic', in the form 'shopoholic', to 1972:

-aholic, shopoholic 1972

Detroit Free Press (Detroit, Michigan), 25 Jun 1972, p 19 (behind paywall).

The early bounds for words formed on the basis of '-holic' from 'alcoholic' must be in the mid-19th century, because the word in the sense of 'addicted to alcohol' (adjective) is first attested (OED) in 1845. In the sense of 'a person addicted to alcohol' (noun), 'alcoholic' is first attested in 1852.


1984 for shopaholic according to Etymology online, which is a good reference to know

Doesn't say where.

See also Merriam-Webster, which says 1983:

Did You Know?

The word alcoholic refers to someone who has a serious disorder. Addictive shopping can be serious, too, but the word shopaholic is most often used playfully to suggest mere excess rather than true addiction. Shopaholic first appeared in print in 1983. It was formed on the model of alcoholic, which was itself created many years earlier by combining alcohol with -ic, meaning "of or relating to." People evidently saw a parallel between someone addicted to alcohol and someone "addicted" to shopping. This is not the first time alcoholic has spawned a spinoff word-shopaholic was preceded by workaholic and chocoholic, both of which first turned up in 1968.

The earliest uses I can find in Google Books refers to folks addicted to shopping.

  • 6
    A much earlier reference is catholic, which means addicted to cats. 🙃
    – verbose
    Jan 15 '17 at 18:31

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