noun \ ˈwelth also ˈweltth \
|Updated on: 17 Jul 2018

Definition of wealth

1 obsolete : weal, welfare
2 : abundance of valuable material possessions or resources
3 : abundant supply : profusion
4 a : 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

Examples of wealth in a Sentence

  1. a nation that has acquired great wealth

  2. someone whose sole goal is the accumulation of wealth

  3. Her personal wealth is estimated to be around billion.

  4. What percentage of the national wealth is spent on health care?

  5. I was impressed by the wealth of choices.

  6. Libraries offer a wealth of information.

Recent Examples of wealth from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of wealth

Middle English welthe, from wele weal

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.

WEALTH Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of wealth for English Language Learners

  • : 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

WEALTH Defined for Kids


noun \ ˈwelth \

Definition of wealth for Students

1 : a large amount of money or possessions
2 : a great amount or number
  • a wealth of ideas

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to grant as a privilege or special favor

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