The noun addict comes from the verb addict, and the verb addict used to mean "to devote", which is interesting but not that strange. This meaning also carried a connotation of "to give oneself over to", which is important as we move back to Latin addictus, meaning "surrender" (or still "devote"). Prisoners of war surrender, and surrendered POWs in Roman times became slaves, so addictus also carried the meaning of "slave" for a while! Before this, we can clearly break up addict into ad-, the prefix for "towards", and dicere, which meant "to say or declare", as in "to declare devotion", supposedly. Dicere, through Proto-Italic deiko, comes from the Proto-Indo-European root deykti, meaning "to point". Ad- merely comes from PIE ad, with more of a meaning of "near". So, throughout history, addiction has had definitions of "devotion", "slavery", "towards declarations" and "pointing near". I'm so addicted to etymology!
Adam Aleksic is a 221-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd