con·​sum·​er·​ism | \ kən-ˈsü-mə-ˌri-zəm How to pronounce consumerism (audio) , -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 How to pronounce consumerist (audio) , -​mər-​ist \ noun or adjective
consumeristic \ kən-​ˌsü-​mə-​ˈri-​stik How to pronounce consumeristic (audio) , -​mər-​ˈi-​ \ adjective

Examples of consumerism in a Sentence

concerns about increasing consumerism among teenagers
Recent Examples on the Web Boston College sociology professor Juliet Schor, who studies consumerism, says there has already been an observable spike in car sales in China post-lockdown. Kate Knibbs, Wired, "The Pandemic Is Transforming the Rental Economy," 8 June 2020 More people joining the middle class in economically-developing countries means more consumerism and more plastic packaging. Matt Simon, Wired, "Plastic Rain Is the New Acid Rain," 11 June 2020 Latta is a recent convert to a growing tribe of Americans who are rejecting the post-WWII consumerism that served as the engine of the world’s biggest economy. Leslie Patton,, "Purging Your Stuff Is the New Conspicuous Consumption," 10 May 2020 America's culture of consumerism took an unexpected detour along with the coronavirus pandemic. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "COVID-19 is changing how Americans spend — here's what we're buying," 28 Apr. 2020 But as consumerism rose and indoor flush toilets became the norm, toilet paper became omnipresent. Eva Botkin-kowacki, The Christian Science Monitor, "Hot commodity: How toilet paper became an icon of stability," 3 Apr. 2020 The rise of fast fashion (fueled by the rise of consumerism) has given way to massive amounts of pollution and waste., "It’s A Great Time To Learn How To Mend Your Clothes," 31 Mar. 2020 Amazon might be dialing back consumerism, but big companies are still getting ready to sell you the latest whizbangs. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, "Amazon is nudging customers to buy less," 17 Apr. 2020 Instead, the winning look was Sander Bos’ nose-thumbingly clever commentary on art versus consumerism, which riffed on the idea of fashion’s elemental building block: the humble T-shirt. Los Angeles Times, "Our fashion critic reviews ‘Making the Cut’s’ winning looks: ‘A total shirt show’," 11 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for consumerism

Time Traveler

The first known use of consumerism was in 1915

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Statistics for consumerism

Last Updated

3 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Consumerism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for consumerism


How to pronounce consumerism (audio)

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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