ex·​or·​bi·​tant | \ ig-ˈzȯr-bə-tənt How to pronounce exorbitant (audio) \

Definition of exorbitant

1 : not coming within the scope of the law
2 : exceeding the customary or appropriate limits in intensity, quality, amount, or size

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Other Words from exorbitant

exorbitantly adverb

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

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."

Examples of exorbitant in a Sentence

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
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Recent Examples on the Web Even if they are handicapped by the salary cap, the cost of veteran depth pieces to date have not been exorbitant. Mike Brehm, USA TODAY, "NHL free agency winners, losers: Sabres stun with Taylor Hall; Blackhawks part ways with veterans," 15 Oct. 2020 As owner of Securus, Gores has exploited incarcerated people and their families — who are overwhelmingly Black and low-income — with exorbitant fees for prison phone calls. Omari Sankofa Ii, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores steps down from L.A. art museum board after public pressure," 9 Oct. 2020 When the Gold Rush ships began putting into Chagres in December 1848, the bungo boatmen were able to demand exorbitant fees — as much as $50 per passenger. Gary Kamiya, SFChronicle.com, "Getting to S.F. the hard way: Gold Rush trip through Panama could be fatal," 2 Oct. 2020 The true-crime docuseries gives viewers a look into the MLM, which was originally billed as a self-improvement group that requires participants to pay exorbitant fees to partake in personal and professional development courses. Rosy Cordero, EW.com, "Clare Bronfman, who's featured in HBO's The Vow, sentenced in Nxivm 'sex cult' case," 1 Oct. 2020 Despite the diversity of California’s vast economy, there is near-universal agreement on one barrier to growth: the exorbitant cost of housing. Conor Dougherty, New York Times, "Calamities Challenge California’s Economic Foundation," 5 Oct. 2020 Those with insurance paid exorbitant premiums, leading some to drop their insurance altogether. Daniel Cusick, Scientific American, "Hurricane-Resistant Building Code Helped Protect Alabama from Sally’s Winds," 5 Oct. 2020 The 42-year-old Denver woman suddenly faced insulin's exorbitant list price — anywhere from $125 to $450 per vial — just as their household income shrank. Markian Hawryluk, CNN, "Diabetes patients turn to underground insulin networks as Covid-19 exposes limits of copay caps," 1 Oct. 2020 This Christmas will be one of exorbitant spending and lavish gifts for many American families. Olivia Rockeman, chicagotribune.com, "What does a ‘K-shaped’ recovery look like? Christmas spending may expose deep economic inequity in US.," 30 Sep. 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for exorbitant

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

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Time Traveler for exorbitant

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

22 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Exorbitant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exorbitant. Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for exorbitant


How to pronounce exorbitant (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of exorbitant

: going far beyond what is fair, reasonable, or expected : too high, expensive, etc.


ex·​or·​bi·​tant | \ ig-ˈzȯr-bə-tənt How to pronounce exorbitant (audio) \

Kids Definition of exorbitant

: more than what is fair, reasonable, or expected exorbitant prices

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