con·​sum·​er·​ism | \ kən-ˈsü-mə-ˌri-zəm , -mər-ˌi-\

Definition of consumerism

1 : the theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically desirable also : a preoccupation with and an inclination toward the buying of consumer goods … the contemporary marketplace is shaped solely by the craven needs of lowbrow consumerism— Thomas Byrne Edsall
2 : the promotion of the consumer's interests

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Other Words from consumerism

consumerist \ kən-​ˈsü-​mə-​rist , -​mər-​ist \ noun or adjective
consumeristic \ kən-​ˌsü-​mə-​ˈri-​stik , -​mər-​ˈi-​ \ adjective

Examples of consumerism in a Sentence

concerns about increasing consumerism among teenagers

Recent Examples on the Web

The press demeaned women who sought influence, and in Victoria’s Secret stores and on the pages of Cosmo, consumerism masqueraded as female empowerment. Rhaina Cohen, The New Republic, "What the 1990s Got Wrong," 29 June 2018 Back in 2017, designers Cary Vaughan and Jenna Wilson launched a global, virtual swap meet on Black Friday to combat the holiday’s message of frenzied, more-is-more consumerism. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Did Marie Kondo Inspire You to Clean Out Your Closet This Weekend? Here Are the 5 Best Ways to Do It," 18 Jan. 2019 If the sharing economy’s stewards prove correct on the future of consumerism, the market will be big enough for everyone. Lane Florsheim, WSJ, "Is the Future of the Sharing Economy Airbnbing Your Clothes?," 29 Nov. 2018 Others were less willing to forgo the fruits of 1960s consumerism. Richard Norton Smith, WSJ, "‘De Gaulle’ Review: ‘A Certain Idea of France’," 26 July 2018 Americans have a reputation for mindless consumerism, but in the last several years a growing minimalist movement has claimed abundance is the ultimate burden, and that clearing clutter is how to make space for real joy. Alia E. Dastagir, USA TODAY, "There's a war being waged on your stuff. Should you give in and 'declutter'?," 8 Feb. 2018 Black Friday shopping isn’t always based in naked, shameless excesses of consumerism. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "The classist vilification of the Black Friday shopper," 20 Nov. 2018 The holiday season is fast approaching, which means it's once again time for the world to come together in a spirited embrace of consumerism. Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, "The Ars Holiday Gift Guide 2018—tech and gear for travel that we’d buy," 13 Nov. 2018 The pieces frequently addressed the pitfalls of mass production, railed against the environmental effects of consumerism, and challenged normative forms. Diana Budds, Curbed, "The most bizarre and brilliant projects from a Dutch design fair," 5 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'consumerism.' 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 consumerism

1915, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for consumerism

see consume

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Last Updated

6 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for consumerism

The first known use of consumerism was in 1915

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More Definitions for consumerism



English Language Learners Definition of consumerism

often disapproving
: the belief that it is good for people to spend a lot of money on goods and services
: the actions of people who spend a lot of money on goods and services

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More from Merriam-Webster on consumerism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with consumerism

Spanish Central: Translation of consumerism

Nglish: Translation of consumerism for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about consumerism

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