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 consumerism (audio) , -​mər-​ist \ noun or adjective
consumeristic \ kən-​ˌsü-​mə-​ˈri-​stik How to pronounce consumerism (audio) , -​mər-​ˈi-​ \ adjective

Examples of consumerism in a Sentence

concerns about increasing consumerism among teenagers
Recent Examples on the Web With masks and social distancing, the world of consumerism has undergone some serious changes. Zaheer Dodhia, Forbes, "How Brands Are Evolving With The New Normal," 28 Apr. 2021 The impact of consumerism on our environment is reflected in every aspect of our daily lives. Alan Taylor, The Atlantic, "Winners of the 2021 Sony World Photography Awards," 21 Apr. 2021 It is beholden to charismatic leaders who combine consumerism, celebrity culture, and stadium-level entertainment, a mix pioneered by Aimee Semple McPherson in the 1930s and exploited by Jimmy Swaggart and others in the 1980s. Charles King, Time, "I, Too, Was Once a Soldier of the Apocalypse: Why White Evangelicals Must Choose Between Reform and American Extremism," 1 Mar. 2021 Today’s brands are competing in a whole new post-pandemic world of digital consumerism filled with virtual events and experiences. Andrew Faridani, Forbes, "How Brands Can Capitalize On NFTs To Boost Engagement," 12 Apr. 2021 Undine, who is originally from the fictional Apex City, Iowa, and who marries into the old-world Marvell family, is the perfect embodiment of such aspirational consumerism. New York Times, "Undine Spragg’s Life in Objects," 26 Jan. 2021 Paul Theroux’s 1981 novel about a man who moves his family to the rainforest to protect them from the corrupting influences of American consumerism has already been adapted, and memorably, as a Peter Weir film starring Harrison Ford. Keith Phipps, Rolling Stone, "What to Watch in April: ‘Thunder Force,’ ‘Them’ and Michael B. Jordan’s Tom Clancy Thriller," 30 Mar. 2021 The latter’s title makes its argument about consumerism obvious to the point of irrelevance, and perhaps deliberately so. Matthew Carey Salyer, Forbes, "Italian Pop Art Stays On The Streets: CIMA’s Mario Schifano Exhibition," 17 Mar. 2021 When asked for advice on how to resist the self-doubt and societal body pressures, Jamil urged listeners to recognize that so many body norms, like anti-aging and weight loss, are all about consumerism. Julie Mazziotta,, "Jameela Jamil ‘Was Totally Suicidal’ After Critics Claimed She Was Faking Her Illnesses," 22 Feb. 2021

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

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Consumerism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on consumerism

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

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