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 This era of conspicuous consumption came as Falwell’s movement merged with the nascent Reagan Revolution. Jared Yates Sexton, The New Republic, "The Cult of the Shining City Embraces the Plague," 25 Mar. 2020 In fact, the best argument this production makes against conspicuous consumption is Herrin’s staging, which ostentatiously deploys vast resources to dispiritingly empty effect. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: A Long Night as Tony Kushner Revisits ‘The Visit’," 13 Feb. 2020 Historically, the non–fabulously wealthy who craved the latest in conspicuous consumption had no recourse but to eat their hearts out. Cintra Wilson, The New York Review of Books, "Waste Not, Shop Not," 11 Feb. 2020 Wax candles were another form of conspicuous consumption, as well as a nod to religious significance. Anne Lawrence-mathers, Quartz, "Reinvention of Christmas decorations is a historical tradition," 24 Dec. 2019 And these are not people running in the social circles of the Kardashian clan, who are known for their conspicuous consumption. Michelle Singletary, Washington Post, "Making financial resolutions for the New Year? Here are six books you need to read in 2020.," 11 Dec. 2019 By the time Joe built homes for his sons Murray and Charlie, Livingston had become a town of conspicuous consumption. Andrea Bernstein, The New Yorker, "Who Is Jared Kushner?," 13 Dec. 2016 The Milken Institute’s annual conference attracts thousands of the world’s most powerful people — from government, finance, medicine, Hollywood and the like — for a frenzy of high-powered networking and conspicuous consumption. Eric Lipton, New York Times, "Symbol of ’80s Greed Stands to Profit From Trump Tax Break for Poor Areas," 26 Oct. 2019 The next generation of the uber-wealthy may have different attitudes towards such fuel-guzzling symbols of conspicuous consumption. Benjamin Stupplesbloomberg, Los Angeles Times, "How to get super rich selling superyachts," 5 Oct. 2019

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

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The first known use of conspicuous consumption was in 1899

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Statistics for conspicuous consumption

Last Updated

10 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Conspicuous consumption.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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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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