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


big-ticket, costly, dear, extravagant, high, high-end, high-ticket, precious, premium, priceless, pricey (also pricy), spendy [chiefly Northwest], ultraexpensive, valuable


cheap, inexpensive

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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

The plane was repeatedly criticized as too expensive and not reliable enough, a controversy stirred by a series of deadly crashes early in the aircraft’s development. Washington Post, "Trump’s July 4 celebration will showcase some of the Pentagon’s deepest money pits, critics say," 3 July 2019 Couture is the epitome of all things expensive and beautiful; fashion houses show pieces that often take months to create in the atelier. Kristen Bateman, Teen Vogue, "Schueller de Waal Turned Their Couture Week Show Into A Street Cleanup in The Name Of Fashion Therapy," 3 July 2019 If the renminbi’s value declined against the dollar, that would make Chinese exports cheaper in terms of dollars and more competitive overseas, while making imports of foreign goods more expensive and less competitive within China. Keith Bradsher, New York Times, "Li Keqiang, Chinese Premier, Reaches Out to Trump and Business," 2 July 2019 While a popular figure at St. James' Park, Rondon was apparently deemed too expensive and too old by the Newcastle hierarchy. SI.com, "Bas Dost & Steve Mounie Linked as Newcastle Search for Salomon Rondon Replacement," 1 July 2019 At the time, printing was expensive and cumbersome, requiring the use of engraved metal plates. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "How Posters Became Art," 1 July 2019 Now, both apples and oranges have become more expensive and will most likely stay that way. WSJ, "Prof. Feldstein and Apple and Orange Prices," 30 June 2019 Absolute dating has its drawbacks: Techniques can be expensive and provide less clarity than their name might suggest. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "How archaeologists determine the date of ancient sites and artifacts," 28 June 2019 The same was true of the Firefly movie, Serenity, which made the world of that show look more expensive and cinematic, to some extent working against the ramshackle charm of the TV version. Noel Murray, The Verge, "The pros and cons of endless TV revivals," 27 June 2019

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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Statistics for expensive

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for expensive

The first known use of expensive was circa 1610

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More Definitions for expensive



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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Comments on expensive

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


to form ideas or theories about something

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