Definition: long-established; possessing a long history of something

I know this mainly from the phrase “inveterate liar.” I knew it was a adjective that implied amplification, but I wasn’t sure in what sense. Did it mean someone told big lies? Someone told lies without remorse or shame?

Turns out that it’s from the Latin word “vetus” which means “old.”

It’s mildly pejorative. You never hear of someone being “inveterate” in a good way. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard some someone described as “having an inveterate habit of donating to charity.”

I asked this exact question on the English StackExchange, and got some good responses:

Why I Looked It Up

The “inveterate liar” phrase came up in some – shocker! – political context.


In a book about the history of networks in politics, the Russian poet Anna Akhmatova was described as an “inveterate romantic.”

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