\ ˈwelth also ˈweltth \

Definition of wealth 

1 obsolete : weal, welfare

2 : abundance of valuable material possessions or resources

3 : abundant supply : profusion

4a : all property that has a money value or an exchangeable value

b : all material objects that have economic utility especially : the stock of useful goods having economic value in existence at any one time national wealth

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Examples of wealth in a Sentence

a nation that has acquired great wealth someone whose sole goal is the accumulation of wealth Her personal wealth is estimated to be around $10 billion. What percentage of the national wealth is spent on health care? I was impressed by the wealth of choices. Libraries offer a wealth of information.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Today, those born without privilege face daunting barriers to wealth and advancement. Heather Souvaine Horn, The New Republic, "Donald Trump, Meghan Markle, and America’s enduring obsession with the British royals," 12 July 2018 And the stock market could retreat, thereby reducing Americans' wealth and ability to spend. Anchorage Daily News, "A new round of proposed Trump tariffs would hit US consumers," 12 July 2018 Income tax revenues depend on a handful of high earners because a handful of high earners are getting too much of the state's wealth and income. sacbee, "Tax haircuts and concerts – or the rich? Californians consider the options," 9 July 2018 There Will Be Blood Even in the wake of Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson's best movie remains this dark, dark drama about an oil baron and his curse of wealth and legacy. Tom Philip, GQ, "The Best Movies/TV to Stream on Amazon Prime This July 4," 3 July 2018 Not only have the top 1 percent seen enormous gains in wealth in the last couple of decades; taxes for corporations and the wealthy have been reduced. Allison Kite, kansascity, "Bringing businesses to Missouri is essential to make ‘economic pie bigger’," 2 July 2018 In relation to both wealth and income the share of the bottom 90 percent has fall in in most of the past 25 years. George Russell, Fox News, "Harsh anti-Trump UN human rights report on US 'extreme poverty' cherry-picks data, assumptions, examination shows," 28 June 2018 One of the greatest oil booms the country has ever seen was turning the area, a rural patch in the brush country south of San Antonio, into a startling and incongruous mix of cascading wealth and crushing hardship. Catherine Marfin, San Antonio Express-News, "Study: Texas ranks 43rd in child well-being," 26 June 2018 Those other historic trials brought celebrity, wealth, and can’t-look-away coverage — all ingredients that a criminal trial over fraud at Theranos seems poised to deliver. Rebecca Robbins, STAT, "7 questions to watch after criminal charges filed in the Theranos saga," 18 June 2018

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

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for wealth

Middle English welthe, from wele weal

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Learn More about wealth

Dictionary Entries near wealth


Weald, The






Phrases Related to wealth

share/spread the wealth

spread the wealth

Statistics for wealth

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wealth

The first known use of wealth was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for wealth



Financial Definition of wealth

What It Is

In the business world, wealth is a measure of financial resources.

How It Works

Wealth is usually a measure of net worth; that is, it is a measure of how much a person has in savings, investments, real estate and cash, less any debts. For example, let's say John Doe has a $700,000 house, a car worth $20,000, a medical practice worth $400,000, and $5,000 in a checking account. Added together, these assets may be worth a whopping $1,125,000, but if John Doe is $300,000 in debt from medical school and owes $650,000 on the house, $15,000 on credit cards and $15,000 on the car, his net worth (the assets minus these liabilities) falls to about $145,000. In other words, if he were to sell everything today and pay off all his debts, he would have only $145,000 that would truly be all his.

Why It Matters

Income is routinely mistaken for wealth. For example, if John Doe's income is $250,000 per year, some people might say John is "wealthy." However, if John's mortgage, car payments, student loans from medical school, medical bills for his child, and private school tuition for his other child consume most of his monthly income, he may not have much left for saving at the end of the month. Consequently, John may have a nice house, but he has virtually nothing saved up for retirement, college, or emergencies. That is, he may have a high income, but he is not "wealthy" because he owns little of the things in his life.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of wealth

: a large amount of money and possessions

: the value of all the property, possessions, and money that someone or something has

: a large amount or number


\ ˈwelth \

Kids Definition of wealth

1 : a large amount of money or possessions

2 : a great amount or number a wealth of ideas

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Comments on wealth

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