hyperinflation

noun hy·per·in·fla·tion \ ˌhī-pər-in-ˈflā-shən \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of hyperinflation

:extreme or excessive inflation: such as
a :excessive distension with air or gas
  • hyperinflation of the lungs
b :extreme economic inflation with prices rising at a very high rate in a very short time
  • But the policy also fueled hyperinflation that experts say left Iran's economy weaker in the long run.
  • —Ramin Mostaghim
; also :a period of such inflation
  • While every company may employ any of a variety of cash investment options during hyperinflation, every successful company has one policy in common …
  • —Gerald Swanson

hyperinflationary

play \ˌhī-pər-in-ˈflā-shə-ˌnər-ē\ adjective

Recent Examples of hyperinflation from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hyperinflation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of hyperinflation

1880


Financial Definition of HYPERINFLATION

hyperinflation

What It Is

Hyperinflation is a period of extremely high inflation.

How It Works

Imagine if $30,000 -- money that could buy you a car today -- was only enough to buy you dinner tomorrow. You're imagining hyperinflation -- a period of time that the International Monetary Fund defines as "beginning in the month that the rise in prices exceeds 50 percent and as ending the month before the monthly rise in prices drops below that rate and stays far below it for at least a year."

Hyperinflation happens when a country's money supply increases rapidly but its supply of goods and services don't. As you know, increases in demand without corresponding increases in supply creates increased prices for those goods and services. When this happens quickly, hyperinflation occurs.

Armed conflicts that require extraordinary defense spending, general fiscal imbalances or printing currency in order to pay off government debt are all common generators of hyperinflation because they increase money supply without a corresponding increase in goods and services. And the problem can quickly spiral because when sellers begin to believe that prices will keep going up, they keep raising prices. This usually creates crises in the banking industry because deposits dwindle and withdrawals soar. And all of these factors in turn discourage foreign investment in the currency and businesses using that currency.

Recovering from hyperinflation can take years, if not decades, and requires government adjustments to its fiscal policy.

Why It Matters

Hyperinflation reduces the efficiency of the price system and the usefulness of a country's currency as a store of value -- that is, it often leaves a country's currency worthless. The problem is typically confined to developing economies, however, so investors in these economies should consider this additional risk when investing.


HYPERINFLATION Defined for English Language Learners

hyperinflation

noun

Definition of hyperinflation for English Language Learners

  • : extremely rapid increase in the price of goods and services : extremely rapid economic inflation


Medical Dictionary

hyperinflation

noun hy·per·in·fla·tion \ ˌhī-pə-rin-ˈflā-shən \

medical Definition of hyperinflation

:excessive inflation (as of the lungs)

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