Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Dipsomania Definition:

An irresistible impulse to indulge in intoxicants; chronic alcoholism.

In Easter v D.C., Judge Myers of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals wrote of dipsomania in the context of the defence of insanity:

"Extended habits of intemperance which produce permanent mental disease amounting to insanity relieve an accused of responsibility under the law. Insanity of this type is identical in law with insanity arising from other causes.

"On the other hand, habitual use of intoxicants causing dipsomania, defined in medical jurisprudence as an irresistible impulse to indulge in intoxicants, does not, if not resulting in insanity, afford any excuse for a crime committed while intoxicated.

"Voluntary drunkenness does not excuse crime, nor does our law recognize, as excusing, what is called dipsomania, or distinguish between an irresistible impulse for intoxicating drinks and a mere inordinate appetite for them, brought on by long and continual indulgence."


  • Easter v. District of Columbia, 209 A. 2d 625 (1965)
  • State v. Wallace, 131 P. 2d 222 (1942)

Categories & Topics:

Always looking up definitions? Save time with our search provider (modern browsers only)

If you find an error or omission in Duhaime's Law Dictionary, or if you have suggestion for a legal term, we'd love to hear from you!