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

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Other Words from stagflation

stagflationary \ ˌstag-​ˈflā-​shə-​ˌner-​ē How to pronounce stagflation (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 Then overspending and the Vietnam War’s overheating of the economy led to stagflation. John Fund, National Review, "Biden Aims to Outshine Obama as a Progressive Reformer," 4 Apr. 2021 One country that didn’t experience stagflation in this period, and accordingly didn’t ‘rebalance’ by moving to financial hyperinflation instead, was Germany. Robert Hockett, Forbes, "The Specter Of ‘the Specter Of Inflation’," 4 Apr. 2021 Real assets, Hartnett says, are a hedge against inflation (and stagflation, too), and infrastructure spending. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "Margin mayhem—finance stocks sink as Wall Street frets over billions in bad trades," 29 Mar. 2021 However, under new leadership, the Fed restored credibility, overcame stagflation and launched a new chapter of inflation management that continues to this day. Randy Brown, Forbes, "Inflation Fears Will Settle, But Only If Growth Continues," 11 Mar. 2021 Economists at the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum put it succinctly, saying that the only scenario to be genuinely fearful of is stagflation, where growth is poor but inflation high. Mike Bird, WSJ, "How the 2020 QE Boom Might Trip Up Central Bankers," 29 Dec. 2020 This was the victory achieved by what’s known as the Great Moderation: 30 years of low consumer price index inflation in the aftermath of the stagflation of the 1970s. Robert Hockett, The New Republic, "Why Joe Biden Can Stop Worrying and Start Spending Like Crazy," 1 Dec. 2020 During the stagflation of the 1970s, Microsoft was born. Business Forum | Steve Grove, Star Tribune, "Start-ups key to Minnesota post-virus economic recovery," 22 Nov. 2020 The 1970s stagflation illustrated this perfectly, with gold reaching a high in January 1980 that still hasn’t been passed when adjusted for inflation. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "Does Gold Protect Your Investment Portfolio? Think Again," 13 Oct. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of stagflation

1965, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for stagflation

blend of stagnation and inflation

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The first known use of stagflation was in 1965

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Last Updated

18 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Stagflation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

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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

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