con·​sump·​tion | \kən-ˈsəm(p)-shən \

Definition of consumption 

1a : the act or process of consuming consumption of food consumption of resources

b : use by or exposure to a particular group or audience The document was not intended for public consumption.

2 : use of something the jet's high consumption of fuel the consumption of electricity

3a : tuberculosis

b : a progressive wasting away of the body especially from pulmonary tuberculosis

Examples of consumption in a Sentence

The jet's high fuel consumption makes it expensive to operate.

Recent Examples on the Web

One reason consumption and retail sales were weak in 2017, even as urban wage growth accelerated, was Chinese consumers’ enormous borrowing binge, much of it for mortgages encouraged by Beijing. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "Are China’s Consumers in Trouble?," 24 Sep. 2018 Nielsen recently issued an ear-opening report that says Americans’ music consumption is downright conspicuous, increasing to the tune of 12.5 percent year over year. John Kehe, The Christian Science Monitor, "How streaming is saving the music business," 3 July 2018 In 2016, milk consumption was the lowest it's been since 1975, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Liz Rieth, Post-Tribune, "Low milk prices contributing to loss of Indiana dairy farms," 3 July 2018 With Wheaton College’s dry campus and the large traditional Christian community, alcohol consumption was generally discouraged. Grace Wong,, "Common Good aims to create new cocktail culture in western suburbs," 13 July 2018 The main culprits: alcohol consumption, drugs, fatigue, inattention, and speed. Tony Bizjak, sacbee, "Here's your Fourth of July playbook for the Sacramento region," 3 July 2018 FBI Special Agent David Rodski said the majority of cases happen on red-eye overnight flights of three hours or more where cabin lights are often dimmed or instances involving alcohol consumption. Carson Kessler, Fortune, "In-Flight Sexual Assaults Are Increasing 'At an Alarming Rate'," 21 June 2018 The epidemiologists said the study did not plan to enroll enough patients or allow enough follow-up time to assess whether moderate alcohol consumption also increases cancer risks. Meredith Wadman, Science | AAAS, "NIH pulls the plug on controversial alcohol trial," 15 June 2018 Researchers were to assess over a 10-year period whether a single serving (approximately 15 grams) of alcohol each day could provide health benefits, such as lowering rates of cardiovascular disease, compared with no alcohol consumption. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "NIH shuts down controversial $100M drinking study backed by Big Alcohol," 15 June 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for consumption

Middle English consumpcioun, from Latin consumption-, consumptio, from consumere — see consume

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Last Updated

19 Nov 2018

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The first known use of consumption was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of consumption

: the act of eating or drinking something

: the use of something (such as fuel)

: use by a particular group of people


con·​sump·​tion | \kən-ˈsəmp-shən \

Kids Definition of consumption

1 : the act or process of using up something (as food or coal)

2 : a wasting away of the body especially from tuberculosis of the lungs


con·​sump·​tion | \kən-ˈsəm(p)-shən \

Medical Definition of consumption 

1 : a progressive wasting away of the body especially from pulmonary tuberculosis

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More from Merriam-Webster on consumption

Spanish Central: Translation of consumption

Nglish: Translation of consumption for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of consumption for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about consumption

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


by force of circumstances

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