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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Influencers aren't the first celebrity group to embrace consumerism. Emma Grey Ellis, WIRED, "The Psychological Impact of Seeing YouTubers Spend Millions," 26 June 2019 And this is coupled with a deeply American fear that our consumerism can be used against us should the people who make our products overseas finally get fed up with sweat-shop labor in the service of U.S. expansionism. Richard Newby, The Hollywood Reporter, "How 'Child's Play' Builds on the Legacy of Horror Remakes," 23 June 2019 Working Colorado families pay taxes to subsidize the well-to-do’s consumerism; a true progressive value if ever there was one. Jon Caldara, The Denver Post, "Caldara: In Colorado you’re still paying for rich folks to buy a luxury second car," 7 June 2019 The holiday, which once marked the beginning of the holiday shopping season (more on that later), is associated with consumerism, materialism, and, occasionally, a lack of family values. Gaby Del Valle, Vox, "Black Friday is longer, and tamer, than ever," 20 Nov. 2018 What about the moms and dads who worry that exposing children to what amounts to a virtual version of the closet Cher had in Clueless might introduce and encourage materialism, consumerism, and an awareness of labels at way too early of an age? Alexandra Macon, Vogue, "Rent the Runway Launches Kids—and My Two Daughters Took It for a Test Drive," 8 Apr. 2019 The adultery novel could also serve to investigate the costs, particularly to women, of belonging to bourgeois society, with its empty consumerism and oppressive morality. Daniel Mendelsohn, Town & Country, "How Infidelity Helped Create the Novel," 2 May 2019 Cohen skewered consumerism with a story inspired by the rise of junk food. Jake Coyle, The Seattle Times, "Larry Cohen, director of cult horror films, dies at 77," 25 Mar. 2019 Conscious consumerism may sound too good to be true, but your wallet is an untapped super power. Jane Mosbacher Morris, Marie Claire, "5 Easy Ways to Use Your Wallet to Create Real Change," 31 Jan. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of consumerism

1915, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for consumerism

see consume

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about consumerism

Statistics for consumerism

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for consumerism

The first known use of consumerism was in 1915

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on consumerism

What made you want to look up consumerism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


characterized by aphorism

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!