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 Volcker was appointed by Jimmy Carter in August 1979 at the height of national frustration with stagflation — the concurrence of both slow economic growth and high inflation. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Real World Economics: Paul Volcker — the right man for his times," 15 Dec. 2019 The 1970s had seen recessions, oil shocks, price controls, and a combination of surging prices and stagnant growth known as stagflation., "Inflation is no longer a scourge. Thank Paul Volcker - The Boston Globe," 11 Dec. 2019 Today’s fears seem stuck in the 1970s, when the Arab oil embargo contributed to worldwide shortages, stagflation and a ghastly recession. Ken Fisher, USA TODAY, "Why oil price swings won't burn America's economy or your 401(k)," 25 Aug. 2019 By Richard Ratay Scribner, 272 pages, $27 Despite energy shortages and stagflation, road trips were a mainstay of family vacations in Mr. Ratay’s youth, spurred by the Interstate Highway System and the blossoming of a motoring middle class. Daniel Akst, WSJ, "‘Don’t Make Me Pull Over!’ Review: Station Wagon Memories," 9 Aug. 2018 For instance, there was the period of stagflation in the 70s when unemployment and inflation both went up. Bob Sellers, Fortune, "The Famous "Phillips Curve" to Predict Inflation Isn't Working Like it Should," 14 June 2019 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

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

Time Traveler for stagflation

Time Traveler

The first known use of stagflation was in 1965

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about stagflation

Statistics for stagflation

Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Stagflation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for stagflation


How to pronounce stagflation (audio)

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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!