ex·​pen·​sive | \ik-ˈspen(t)-siv \

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

All this computation is expensive though, and so the game only runs at 25 frames per second. James Vincent, The Verge, "Nvidia has created the first video game demo using AI-generated graphics," 3 Dec. 2018 Meaning next Christmas will be even more expensive if Trump is still waging his trade war. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "Trump’s trade war on Christmas," 29 Nov. 2018 Gawande’s New Yorker piece, which examined why health care was so much more expensive in some parts of the U.S. than others, despite little difference in the quality of care or the sickness of people getting it. Casey Ross, STAT, "As Atul Gawande steps into a risky health CEO role, here are five challenges he faces," 9 July 2018 As a result, malpractice insurance is often incredibly expensive. Barbara Brody, Glamour, "The Ob-Gyn Shortage Is Real—And It Might Impact Your Care," 14 Nov. 2018 More than anything, most camper vans are expensive. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Modular camper van sleeps two and hauls gear, asks $37K," 22 Oct. 2018 Virtually all modern PCs now use a 64-bit processor, so in this case the most modern version of Windows 10 Home is less expensive. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft has added $20 to the price of Windows 10 Home, but there are sales elsewhere," 9 Oct. 2018 If our traveler increases the claim limit to $5,000—that is, takes a trip that’s twice as expensive—the annual plan’s premium climbs to $320. Suzanne Rowan Kelleher, Condé Nast Traveler, "You’ve Been Buying Travel Insurance All Wrong," 22 Aug. 2018 And Seattle is three times more expensive than Las Vegas. Mike Rosenberg, The Seattle Times, "Washington state no longer has the nation’s fastest-climbing home prices," 13 Aug. 2018

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

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

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 \

Kids Definition of expensive

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