sump·​tu·​ary | \ ˈsəm(p)-chə-ˌwer-ē How to pronounce sumptuary (audio) \

Definition of sumptuary

1 : relating to personal expenditures and especially to prevent extravagance and luxury conservative sumptuary tastes— John Cheever
2 : designed to regulate extravagant expenditures or habits especially on moral or religious grounds sumptuary laws sumptuary tax

Examples of sumptuary in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The rise of modern capitalism ultimately made sumptuary laws obsolete. Amanda Foreman, WSJ, "Unenforceable Laws Against Pleasure," 24 Jan. 2019 Louis XIV, for example, famously wore scarlet heels and enacted sumptuary laws preventing those not in royal favor from following suit. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Your Foolproof Recipe for Holiday-Dressing Success? Red Velvet," 23 Nov. 2018 To my mind, dress codes and sumptuary laws are free-speech issues; dress speaks louder—and with more honesty—than words. Kimberly Chrisman-campbell, The Atlantic, "Confessions of a Costume Curator," 18 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sumptuary.' 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 sumptuary

1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sumptuary

Latin sumptuarius, from sumptus expense, from sumere to take, spend — more at consume

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Time Traveler for sumptuary

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The first known use of sumptuary was in 1600

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Cite this Entry

“Sumptuary.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 8 December 2019.

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Comments on sumptuary

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to constrict the range or activity of

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