early 15c., of diseases, "lasting a long time," from Middle French chronique, from Latin chronicus, from Greek khronikos "of time, concerning time," from khronos "time" (see chrono-). Vague disapproving sense (from 17c.) is from association with diseases and later addictions. Literal sense "pertaining to time" is rare in English. As a popular slang catch-all word for "cannabis," popularized from 1992 by "The Chronic," an album released by rapper Dr. Dre; originally it described especially potent marijuana, on the notion of "extreme, severe." Related: Chronical; chronically.
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