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 Strict sumptuary laws dictated what colors and styles of clothing people of different classes could wear. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 8 Nov. 2021 Despite their rising status in the merchant class of Bruges, the Arnolfinis simply could not possess certain luxuries due to sumptuary laws, codifying details as small as squirrel bellies. Dan Neil, WSJ, 8 July 2021 Discourse surrounding poulaines reached such heights that in 1463, England’s Edward IV passed sumptuary laws in London that limited toe length to a mere two inches, per Atlas Obscura. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, 14 June 2021 Absorb the history of sumptuary law from a STANFORD PROFESSOR whose book contains a section titled Decorative Orthodontic Devices (a.k.a. Grillz)? Molly Young, Vulture, 6 Mar. 2021 After sumptuary laws finally succeeded in suppressing consumer spending, that trend reversed. Gwynn Guilford, Quartz, 19 Jan. 2020 The rise of modern capitalism ultimately made sumptuary laws obsolete. Amanda Foreman, WSJ, 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, 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, 18 Aug. 2017 See More

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.

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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The first known use of sumptuary was in 1600

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Cite this Entry

“Sumptuary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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