stag·​fla·​tion | \ ˌstag-ˈflā-shən How to pronounce stagflation (audio) \

Definition of stagflation

: persistent inflation combined with stagnant consumer demand and relatively high unemployment

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from stagflation

stagflationary \ ˌstag-​ˈflā-​shə-​ˌner-​ē How to pronounce stagflationary (audio) \ adjective

Did You Know?

Stagflation is a portmanteau, that is, a word that blends two others (in this case, "stagnation" and "inflation"). The first documented use of the word appeared in 1965 in the writing of British politician Iain Macleod, who wrote, "We now have the worst of both worlds - not just inflation on the one side or stagnation on the other, but both of them together. We have a sort of 'stagflation' situation." Macleod is often credited with coining the term, and his linguistic invention was quickly embraced by economists in the United States, who used it to refer to the period of economic sluggishness and high inflation that affected the country in the 1970s.

Examples of stagflation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In 1973, a major recession hit, miring the American economy in stagflation, and deindustrialization began in earnest. Sarah Jaffe, The New Republic, "The Road Not Taken," 24 June 2019 In fact, the Phillips curve was not a reliable rule of thumb in late-1970s stagflation, the robust, supply-side Reagan recovery in the 1980s, the Bush 43 boom and bust from 2001 to 2008 and the Obama lackluster recovery after 2008. WSJ, "Was the Phillips Curve Ever a Reliable Tool?," 9 May 2018 So to summarize: Our closest allies — and six of the world’s ten largest economies — see this administration as a bigger problem than an oil shock and stagflation, and almost as big a problem as Russia invading Ukraine. Heather Hurlburt, Daily Intelligencer, "How Will We Know When the Trade War Starts?," 7 June 2018 The draft, a hot-button issue for activists, ended in 1973, and boomer activism began to shift to the Equal Rights Amendment, while the country as a whole was buffeted by the oil crisis and then stagflation. James Sullivan,, "Whatever happened to those radical boomer activists from the ’60s and ’70s?," 6 June 2018 President Richard Nixon’s import surcharge contributed to the stagflation of the 1970s. Matthew Shay, Fortune, "How Trump Can Get Our China Trade Policy Back on Track," 14 May 2018 Memories of disco-era oil shocks, gas lines and stagflation loom large, passed on as lore from my generation to our kids. Ken Fisher, USA TODAY, "Why rising gas prices won't last, even after Trump ends Iran nuclear deal," 20 May 2018 At this juncture, a new economic monster appeared: stagflation, a chimera of inflation, recession, and unemployment. Caleb Crain, The New Yorker, "Is Capitalism a Threat to Democracy?," 7 May 2018 Alan Greenspan warns about a bubble in bonds and the return of stagflation. Ainsley Thomson,, "Everything You Need to Know This Morning From Daybreak (Podcast)," 1 Aug. 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of stagflation

1965, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for stagflation

blend of stagnation and inflation

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about stagflation

Listen to Our Podcast about stagflation

Statistics for stagflation

Last Updated

3 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for stagflation

The first known use of stagflation was in 1965

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for stagflation



English Language Learners Definition of stagflation

: an economic situation in which prices of goods and services continually increase, many people do not have jobs, and businesses are not very successful

More from Merriam-Webster on stagflation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stagflation Encyclopedia article about stagflation

Comments on stagflation

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


providing supplementary assistance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!