conspicuous consumption


Definition of conspicuous consumption

: lavish or wasteful spending thought to enhance social prestige

Examples of conspicuous consumption in a Sentence

a culture of conspicuous consumption
Recent Examples on the Web There are the salt-of-the-earth types with a taste for conspicuous consumption, who pair their $1,275 Canada Goose’s Shelburne Parka with a Cartier Love bracelet and Uggs. Jessica Iredale, WSJ, 4 Jan. 2022 Xi instituted a sweeping crackdown on both corruption and his political rivals, which tamped down some of the fervor for deals and conspicuous consumption. Washington Post, 10 Sep. 2021 In the late 19th century, Mary Emery turned family tragedy and the conspicuous consumption of the Gilded Age into a legacy Cincinnatians are lucky to enjoy to this day. Kathrine Nero, The Enquirer, 14 Nov. 2021 Inventing Anna will also feature Laverne Cox, Anna Chlumsky, and Arian Moayed in its portrayal of conspicuous consumption and inconspicuous scammery in New York City. Rebecca Alter, Vulture, 3 Nov. 2021 Nunes notes such conspicuous consumption went up after the Great Recession, too. Washington Post, 17 Aug. 2021 Showmanship was the point, because what else would motivate someone to capture such conspicuous consumption? Washington Post, 5 Oct. 2021 Ocasio-Cortez’s dress offered no overt criticism of conspicuous consumption or of the economics of the fashion industry, whose moguls belong to the .01 per cent. Judith Thurman, The New Yorker, 17 Sep. 2021 The fruit-forwardness—conspicuous consumption made teasingly literal—is absurd, but also darkly apt: This is decor that, much like the wealthy guests it is meant to delight, does not know when to stop. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, 16 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'conspicuous consumption.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of conspicuous consumption

1899, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for conspicuous consumption

Time Traveler

The first known use of conspicuous consumption was in 1899

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Statistics for conspicuous consumption

Last Updated

13 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Conspicuous consumption.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for conspicuous consumption

conspicuous consumption


English Language Learners Definition of conspicuous consumption

: the act or practice of spending money on expensive things that are not necessary in order to impress other people

More from Merriam-Webster on conspicuous consumption

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for conspicuous consumption Encyclopedia article about conspicuous consumption


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