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lav·​ish ˈla-vish How to pronounce lavish (audio)
: expending or bestowing profusely : prodigal
lavish donors
lavish in giving praise to her employees
: expended or produced in abundance
the lavish attentions of his motherGeorge Meredith
: marked by profusion or excess
a lavish feast
a lavish home
lavishly adverb
lavishness noun


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lavished; lavishing; lavishes

transitive verb

: to expend or bestow with profusion : squander
Choose the Right Synonym for lavish

profuse, lavish, prodigal, luxuriant, lush, exuberant mean giving or given out in great abundance.

profuse implies pouring forth without restraint.

profuse apologies

lavish suggests an unstinted or unmeasured profusion.

a lavish party

prodigal implies reckless or wasteful lavishness threatening to lead to early exhaustion of resources.

prodigal spending

luxuriant suggests a rich and splendid abundance.

a luxuriant beard

lush suggests rich, soft luxuriance.

a lush green lawn

exuberant implies marked vitality or vigor in what produces abundantly.

an exuberant imagination

Examples of lavish in a Sentence

Adjective a lavish display of flowers this lavish consumption of our natural resources simply cannot continue Verb doting parents lavishing lots of attention on their children a great actor who lavished his talent in lousy movies
Recent Examples on the Web
Prime Video hosted a lavish Hollywood after-party to celebrate April 9 in celebration of Fallout's series premiere The TCL Chinese Theater was home to an alternate universe in Hollywood last week. Liza Esquibias, Peoplemag, 16 Apr. 2024 Steeped in fascinating tidbits about her life, Swift recounts how Harkness, who inherited the riches from her oil tycoon husband’s untimely death and even became the richest woman in America at one point, was considered an outcast and a madwoman for her unconventional choices and lavish lifestyle. Samantha Cooney, TIME, 16 Apr. 2024 The project may be the most lavish example of how teams, leagues and event organizers are pursuing luxury and exclusivity with zeal. Kevin Draper Doug Mills, New York Times, 13 Apr. 2024 Through the gated entrance, the driveway leads to a lavish motorcourt. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 11 Apr. 2024 Now that most Tull albums have been reissued in lavish box sets that include full concerts, there are plenty of dates to choose from—but this double LP is the one that started it all. Ernesto Lechner, SPIN, 11 Apr. 2024 Nearly two hours into a welcome ceremony last month at the lavish home of a Korean diplomat in Hancock Park, the guest of honor — the first Asian American to lead the Los Angeles Police Department — had yet to step on stage. Libor Jany, Los Angeles Times, 11 Apr. 2024 President Biden officially welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to the White House on Wednesday for a formal state visit, an honor that includes an Oval Office meeting, a press conference, and a lavish state dinner with a performance by Paul Simon. Franco Ordoñez, NPR, 10 Apr. 2024 And to add insult to injury all these companies pay executives lavish salaries while demanding struggling residents pony up. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, 10 Apr. 2024
Underscoring how widespread the financing practice had become, the top purchaser of electoral bonds turned out to be a gambling mogul based in Tamil Nadu state who lavished money not on BJP, but on its smaller rivals. Anant Gupta, Washington Post, 29 Mar. 2024 Former president Donald Trump hasn't picked a favorite in the race despite the praise lavished on him by many of the candidates. Scott Wartman, The Enquirer, 5 Mar. 2024 In his shareholder letter, Buffett lavishes praise on Occidental Petroleum, of which Berkshire owns a whopping 27.8%. Sammy Roth, Los Angeles Times, 7 Mar. 2024 At 133 minutes, the doc runs long but never dull, given the generosity of attention lavished on almost the entire Powell and Pressburger filmography. Guy Lodge, Variety, 21 Feb. 2024 Property tax redirect The lack of funds is a direct result of the property tax breaks that Kansas City lavishes on companies and developers that do business there. Christine Wen, The Conversation, 15 Feb. 2024 The military operation began days after Russia hosted the Winter Olympics in Sochi, on which Putin had lavished a record $50 billion to showcase Russia as a sporting superpower. Tribune News Service, Orange County Register, 14 Feb. 2024 Frankly, the last person who should be preaching about wasting taxpayer money is Dixon, who lavished taxpayer money on her sister, her campaign chair and her boyfriend. Reader Commentary, Baltimore Sun, 10 Feb. 2024 Beijing lavished manufacturing subsidies on the Chinese EV sector in a bid to develop a globally-competitive industry. Lionel Lim, Fortune Asia, 25 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'lavish.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English laves, lavage "extravagant, wasteful," from attributive use of lavas, lavesse "excess, prodigality" (though attested later), probably borrowed from Middle French lavasse, lavache "torrential rain, downpour," from laver "to wash" (going back to Latin lavāre) + -asse, -ache, augmentative and depreciative suffix, going back to Latin -ācea, feminine of -āceus -aceous — more at lye

Note: The word lavasse/lavache is well-attested in northern dialects of French (see Französisches etymologisches Wörterbuch), and in Middle French is found in the work of authors with a definite northern connection (Jean Wauquelin, Jean Molinet—see Dictionnaire du Moyen Français). Presumably it is from this milieu that the word was passed into English in the fifteenth century. Evidence for it in Anglo-French is apparently lacking.


derivative of lavish entry 1, perhaps by construal of -ish (as in admonish, astonish) as a causative verbal suffix

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1542, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of lavish was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near lavish

Cite this Entry

“Lavish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
lav·​ish ˈlav-ish How to pronounce lavish (audio)
: spending or giving more than is necessary : extravagant
lavish with praise
: spent, produced, or given freely
lavish gifts
lavishly adverb
lavishness noun


2 of 2 verb
: to spend or give freely


Middle English lavas "an abundance," probably from early French lavasse, lavache "a downpour of rain," derived from Latin lavare "to wash" — related to laundry, lavatory, lotion

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