af·​flu·​en·​za ˌa-(ˌ)flü-ˈen-zə How to pronounce affluenza (audio)
: the unhealthy and unwelcome psychological and social effects of affluence regarded especially as a widespread societal problem: such as
: feelings of guilt, lack of motivation, and social isolation experienced by wealthy people
A lack of motivation is one of many consequences of affluenza, said Jessie O'Neill, the granddaughter of a General Motors president who runs a project on affluenza.John Christoffersen
Affluenza—a "disease" that affects wealthy people, giving them symptoms that include a lack of motivation or guilt and a sense of isolation—continues to rise as a legal defense.Francis Emelogu
: extreme materialism and consumerism associated with the pursuit of wealth and success and resulting in a life of chronic dissatisfaction, debt, overwork, stress, and impaired relationships
Affluenza is particularly rampant in the United States, where we place a high priority on financial success and material possessions.David Hawkins

Examples of affluenza in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This has become an ancient story of affluenza to the max, a story of how being born into money and titles is no way to prepare you for life, a lesson in how doling out power based on birth order is no way to run a country and is a fine way to ruin a family. Monica Hesse, Washington Post, 13 Jan. 2023 Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram Tonya Couch, the 'affluenza' mom, is back in jail after failed drug test 'Affluenza teen' will have strict curfew, alcohol monitoring once he's released Forgive Ethan Couch? Bill Hanna, star-telegram, 2 Apr. 2018 The drunken driving case gained national outrage after Couch received no prison time in the initial manslaughter case after the affluenza plea, as CNN reported. Linley Sanders, Teen Vogue, 2 Apr. 2018 And remember Ethan Couch's infamous affluenza defense? Evelyn Wang, Esquire, 13 Apr. 2016

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'affluenza.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


blend of affluence and influenza

First Known Use

1973, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of affluenza was in 1973

Dictionary Entries Near affluenza

Cite this Entry

“Affluenza.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

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