Can I use the word "Workaholic" in formal writing?

for example:

Workaholics may neglect their families and friends.

2 Answers 2


It's quite an informal term, and I wouldn't expect to see if in formal writing.

What you could easily do, however, is phrase it as:

So-called "workaholics" may neglect their families and friends.

It's a term that is widely used, and you're still referencing it. But because of its formality (or lack thereof), you're not including it as part of your wording.

Alternatively, be more descriptive:

Those who work significantly longer hours may neglect their families and friends.

  • thanks a lot. apart from answering my question you also showed me a way of incorporating some unusual words in formal writings which i didn't know before. Can you elaborate on this more? another sentence coming to my mind: '' so-called ''fanatics'' of sports clubs''. can i use these kinds of sentences in formal writing? Mar 29, 2019 at 16:26
  • 1
    I've heard that phrase format used many times in formal settings, yes. Perhaps the most common lately has been when referring to "the so-called Islamic State." The reasoning for this was that the group call themselves that, and others might too, but the media did not wish to use that language themselves and therefore give it credence.
    – Dan
    Mar 29, 2019 at 16:29
  • I like this approach, but, what you would really want to do is use either the scare quotes or the so-called, but not both (in other words, not the so-called "scare quotes"). (See Point #3 in this Writing Blog.)
    – J.R.
    Mar 29, 2019 at 19:40

I think it’s an informal term.

There are simple and expressive alternatives you could use in formal settings.

hard worker

hard-working person

(very/extremely) diligent worker

industrious worker

They all have a positive connotation.

  • 6
    Whilst I agree that there are other more formal replacements, I don't think that any of those suggestions convey the intensity of "workaholic." One can be a diligent, industrious, hard worker and not be a workaholic.
    – Dan
    Mar 29, 2019 at 16:25
  • I think the word workaholic generally comes with negative connotations; it certainly seems to do so in the example given in the question. I think all the suggestions in this answer are thereby disqualified.
    – David K
    Mar 29, 2019 at 21:17
  • Workoholic is somehow who lacks the life-work balance; hardworking doesn’t necessarily lack that.
    – Neeku
    Apr 1, 2019 at 23:22

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