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

Wright and Lobo-Navia are sending a powerful message to those of us who often fall hard for conspicuous consumption. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "How Moroccan Rugs Are Made: Weaving With Women in the Atlas Mountains," 19 Nov. 2018 The resulting retail model looks a lot less like previous notions of conspicuous consumption and a lot more like visual culture. Courtney Coffman, The Atlantic, "Shops Aren’t for Shopping Anymore," 19 June 2018 When the gavel at Christie’s came down, conspicuous consumption had taken a great leap forward. James Atlas, Town & Country, "The Optics of Excess: All Eyes Are on the Fantastically Extravagant—And It Doesn't Look Good," 8 Feb. 2018 From the top to the bottom of the income spectrum, people use conspicuous consumption and other means of enhancing their image to project status. The Economist, "Does inequality cause suicide, drug abuse and mental illness?," 14 June 2018 Like workout culture, wellness is a form of conspicuous consumption. Gabriel Winant, The New Republic, "Barbara Ehrenreich’s radical critique of wellness and self-improvement," 23 May 2018 Likewise, in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus and the parable of the rich fool, the wealthy are condemned because of their conspicuous consumption and neglect of the poor. David B. Gowler, Fortune, "Commentary: Let’s Be Honest: Paul Ryan Would Fire Jesus as House Chaplain," 1 May 2018 But social housing undermined the position of landlords, and the bourgeoisie felt targeted by taxes on conspicuous consumption. Patrick Iber, The New Republic, "How neoliberalism shapes the global economy and limits the power of democracies," 23 Apr. 2018 Donald Trump was once a prominent feature on the hip-hop landscape, where his penchant for ostentatious displays of wealth paired well with hip-hop’s embrace of conspicuous consumption. Adam O’neal, WSJ, "‘3 Kings’ Review: From Rap to Riches," 29 Mar. 2018

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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Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

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The first known use of conspicuous consumption was in 1899

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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 Encyclopedia article about conspicuous consumption

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a nest or breeding place

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