ex·​pen·​sive | \ ik-ˈspen(t)-siv How to pronounce expensive (audio) \

Definition of expensive

1 : involving high cost or sacrifice an expensive hobby
2a : commanding a high price and especially one that is not based on intrinsic worth or is beyond a prospective buyer's means
b : characterized by high prices expensive shops

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Other Words from expensive

expensively adverb
expensiveness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for expensive



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Examples of expensive in a Sentence

The lights were expensive to install. expensive clothing that only the truly wealthy can afford
Recent Examples on the Web Even so, paying $28 for each dollar in profits is really, really expensive. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "4 metrics show the stock market is now wildly overvalued—by as much as 33%," 8 Feb. 2021 It’s the most expensive and labor-intensive treatment option, with Medicaid paying about $810 a day. Rachel Alexander And Saphara Harrell, oregonlive, "Oregon’s drug treatment system is not ready for Measure 110 aftermath, Salem Reporter finds," 6 Feb. 2021 Why, when that first saucepan looked very good and expensive? Jackson Mchenry, Vulture, "Let Us Ponder Zendaya Sexily, Sadly Making Boxed Mac and Cheese in Malcolm & Marie," 5 Feb. 2021 In lieu of more expensive and time-consuming survey methods, researchers used an underwater drone to find several species that Songhees leaders identified as important to ceremonial, social, or harvest traditions. Lindsey Mcginnis, The Christian Science Monitor, "Points of Progress: India’s Karnataka state outlaws bonded labor, and more," 5 Feb. 2021 Mexican industries have long been hobbled by the country's relatively expensive and unreliable electricity supply. Christopher Sherman, Star Tribune, "Mexico vows to press ahead to favor state-owned utility," 4 Feb. 2021 But these invasive tests are expensive and generally limited to research settings that are not part of routine care for the millions of people suffering from the most common neurodegenerative disorder. Esther Landhuis, Scientific American, "Detecting Alzheimer’s Gets Easier with a Simple Blood Test," 4 Feb. 2021 Ford is expected to add a more powerful and expensive Raptor R model with a V-8 engine in 2022. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "2021 Ford F-150 Raptor is high-speed off-roader with cult following," 3 Feb. 2021 Racial vote dilution in school-district elections is common but legal fights over it are relatively rare because these cases are so time-consuming and expensive, said NYCLU attorney Perry Grossman. WSJ, "After Civil-Rights Case, Parents Seek Louder Voice in New York School District Vote," 30 Jan. 2021

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

circa 1610, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for expensive

Time Traveler

The first known use of expensive was circa 1610

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Statistics for expensive

Last Updated

18 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Expensive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expensive. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of expensive

: costing a lot of money


ex·​pen·​sive | \ ik-ˈspen-siv How to pronounce expensive (audio) \

Kids Definition of expensive

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