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 blanket is available in white, light grey, mint, and blush, and will immediately make any room look more expensive. Samantha Gordon, USA TODAY, "18 amazing deals from Anthropologie's huge summer sale," 19 June 2019 Those programs often require patients to try cheaper medications before more expensive ones. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin Assembly approves bills on homelessness, regulation of 5G technology," 18 June 2019 But because smaller schools are more expensive to operate, leaders at those schools said their allocations did not stretch far enough — even with fewer students. Perry Stein, Washington Post, "D.C. Council moves to add money to schools that faced budget cuts," 18 June 2019 And for a limited time, activating the $1 trial will automatically convert future months of service to the more expensive Game Pass Ultimate, saving you hundreds of dollars. Cameron Faulkner, The Verge, "How to convert your Xbox Live subscription into Xbox Game Pass Ultimate," 18 June 2019 By making the foreign products more expensive, Trump has said the goal of tariffs is to push companies to move production to the United States. Damian Paletta, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump says he will meet with China’s Xi at G-20 summit amid escalating trade war," 18 June 2019 For most of baseball’s history, there was no single attribute more expensive to acquire than power. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "How the Twins—Yes, the Twins—Built Baseball’s Most Powerful Lineup," 18 June 2019 The more expensive version, incorporating the sensors and the app, is around $700. Glenn Mcdonald, National Geographic, "From diamonds to rockets, mourning the dead has gotten high-tech," 17 June 2019 Torque vectoring is standard on more expensive trims. Houston Chronicle, "Range Rover Evoque gets added finesse, mild-hybrid versions," 14 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

22 Jun 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

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