ex·​or·​bi·​tant ig-ˈzȯr-bə-tənt How to pronounce exorbitant (audio)
: not coming within the scope of the law
: exceeding the customary or appropriate limits in intensity, quality, amount, or size
exorbitantly adverb

Did you know?

How Was exorbitant First Used?

The first use of "exorbitant" in English was "wandering or deviating from the normal or ordinary course." That sense is now archaic, but it provides a hint as to the origins of "exorbitant": the word derives from Late Latin exorbitans, the present participle of the verb exorbitare, meaning "to deviate." "Exorbitare" in turn was formed by combining the prefix ex-, meaning "out of," with the noun orbita, meaning "track of a wheel or "rut." ("Orbita" itself traces back to "orbis," the Latin word for "disk" or "hoop.") In the 15th century "exorbitant" came to refer to something which fell outside of the normal or intended scope of the law. Eventually, it developed an extended sense as a synonym of "excessive."

Choose the Right Synonym for exorbitant

excessive, immoderate, inordinate, extravagant, exorbitant, extreme mean going beyond a normal limit.

excessive implies an amount or degree too great to be reasonable or acceptable.

excessive punishment

immoderate implies lack of desirable or necessary restraint.

immoderate spending

inordinate implies an exceeding of the limits dictated by reason or good judgment.

inordinate pride

extravagant implies an indifference to restraints imposed by truth, prudence, or good taste.

extravagant claims for the product

exorbitant implies a departure from accepted standards regarding amount or degree.

exorbitant prices

extreme may imply an approach to the farthest limit possible or conceivable but commonly means only to a notably high degree.

extreme shyness

Example Sentences

The citizens of Xiaoli Village move lazily, with a languor born of chronic underemployment. They are farmers by tradition, but exorbitant taxes have leached any profitability out of their profession. Hannah Beech, Time, 27 Oct. 2003
As with the black truffle, foie gras is as exorbitant ($52 a pound) as it is decadent (one gram of foie gras can reportedly be 900 calories). Heather Morgan, Traveler, April 2000
… I recommend that the Congress adopt … [a] continuation of the law for the renegotiation of war contracts—which will prevent exorbitant profits and assure fair prices to the Government. Franklin D. Roosevelt 11 Jan. 1944, in Nothing to Fear by B. D. Zevin1946
They were charged exorbitant rates for phone calls. the cost of our stay was so exorbitant you would have thought that we had bought the hotel and not just spent a few nights there
Recent Examples on the Web At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in January, the company was questioned about the prevalence of bots, exorbitant fees and high prices. Daysia Tolentino, NBC News, 21 Mar. 2023 The contractor confiscated the Mexican farmworkers' passports, demanded exorbitant fees from them and threatened them with deportation or false arrest, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Mike Schneider, ajc, 18 Mar. 2023 The contractor confiscated the Mexican farmworkers’ passports, demanded exorbitant fees from them and threatened them with deportation or false arrest, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Mike Schneider, Orlando Sentinel, 17 Mar. 2023 The contractor confiscated the Mexican farmworkers’ passports, demanded exorbitant fees from them and threatened them with deportation or false arrest, according to the US Department of Justice. Mike Schneider, BostonGlobe.com, 17 Mar. 2023 There has been some backlash to this, both in the form of local regulations and customers who are tired of paying exorbitant cleaning fees, but the company shows no real sign of slowing down. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 14 Mar. 2023 And while Warriors ownership is conscious of salary cap and paying an exorbitant luxury tax bill, Myers didn’t think the altercation was over contract situations but rather just normal trash talk that happens during practice. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, 7 Oct. 2022 Banks should stop robbing the poor and near-poor of billions of dollars each year, immediately ending exorbitant overdraft fees. Matthew Desmond, New York Times, 9 Mar. 2023 That often meant that if seats weren’t available, parents were forced to pay exorbitant fees for the simple privilege of sitting next to their own children. Rachel Chang, Condé Nast Traveler, 24 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'exorbitant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Late Latin exorbitant-, exorbitans, present participle of exorbitare to deviate, from Latin ex- + orbita track of a wheel, rut, from orbis disk, hoop

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of exorbitant was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near exorbitant

Cite this Entry

“Exorbitant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exorbitant. Accessed 1 Apr. 2023.

Kids Definition


ex·​or·​bi·​tant ig-ˈzȯr-bət-ənt How to pronounce exorbitant (audio)
: going beyond the limits of what is fair, reasonable, or expected
exorbitant prices
exorbitantly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on exorbitant

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

Challenging Standardized Test Words, Vol. 2

  • a pencil broken in half on top of a test answer sheet
  • The business’s new computer system proved not to be a panacea.
True or False

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

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?