stag·​fla·​tion ˌstag-ˈflā-shən How to pronounce stagflation (audio)
: persistent inflation combined with stagnant consumer demand and relatively high unemployment
stagflationary adjective

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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 We are stuck at step eight of the ten steps of stagflation. Cale Clingenpeel, National Review, 10 Apr. 2024 Conversely, during the 1970s (not shown on graph), stagflation was rampant as consumer prices rose and the economy struggled. Mike Patton, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2024 Through the booms and busts of the Gilded Age, the cataclysms of the Great Depression and the whirlwind of the 1970s oil crisis and stagflation, economic headwinds were barely worth mentioning. Sam Dean, Los Angeles Times, 13 Mar. 2024 If those borrowing costs don’t go down, its likely Germany, and the rest of the eurozone economies will suffer stagflation — economic stagnation and inflation. Simon Constable, Forbes, 25 Feb. 2024 Unable to defeat North Vietnam, afflicted by stagflation, and deeply divided over everything from race relations to women’s rights, Washington could not play hardball with Moscow. Niall Ferguson, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 On the other hand, both deflation (when prices fall) and stagflation (when an economy stops growing) can be harmful to the economy in their own ways. Erica Jackson Curran, Parents, 28 Jan. 2024 These parallels include oil shocks, war in Israel and persistent inflation which helped usher in a decade of stagflation—a toxic mix of weak economic growth and spiraling inflation. Eleanor Pringle, Fortune, 17 Jan. 2024 After the 1973 oil crisis, Friedman seemed like the only economist who could explain the devastating stagflation that rocked the U.S. and U.K. Krithika Varagur, The New Yorker, 12 Jan. 2024

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

Word History


blend of stagnation and inflation

First Known Use

1965, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of stagflation was in 1965


Dictionary Entries Near stagflation

Cite this Entry

“Stagflation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

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