Home > C Words > conspicuous consumption

conspicuous consumption

Definition of Conspicuous Consumption

(noun) Buying, displaying, and consuming expensive luxury goods or services to flaunt one’s superior wealth and status in society.

Example of Conspicuous Consumption

  • Veblen goods, which are products that are in demand primarily because of their high price and serve as status symbols. Examples of Veblen goods include designer handbags, jewelry, and luxury cars.

Conspicuous Consumption Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: con·spic·u·ous con·sump·tion

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /kənˈspɪkjuəs kənˈsʌmpʃən/
  • British English – /kənˈspɪkjʊəs kənˈsʌm(p)ʃən/

Usage Notes

Additional Information

Related Terms


Works Consulted

Abercrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill, and Bryan Turner. 2006. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. 5th ed. London: Penguin.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 5th ed. 2011. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Bruce, Steve, and Steven Yearley. 2006. The SAGE Dictionary of Sociology. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Collins English Dictionary: Complete and Unabridged. 6th ed. 2003. Glasgow, Scotland: Collins.

Delaney, Tim, and Tim Madigan. 2015. The Sociology of Sports: An Introduction. 2nd ed. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.

Henslin, James M. 2012. Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. 10th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Kimmel, Michael S., and Amy Aronson. 2012. Sociology Now. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Jary, David, and Julia Jary. 2000. Collins Dictionary of Sociology. 3rd ed. Glasgow, Scotland: HarperCollins.

Macionis, John. 2012. Sociology. 14th ed. Boston: Pearson.

Macmillan. (N.d.) Macmillan Dictionary. (https://www.macmillandictionary.com/).

Princeton University. 2010. WordNet. (https://wordnet.princeton.edu/).

Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. 1997. New York: Random House.

Ravelli, Bruce, and Michelle Webber. 2016. Exploring Sociology: A Canadian Perspective. 3rd ed. Toronto: Pearson.

Schaefer, Richard. 2013. Sociology: A Brief Introduction. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Scott, John, and Gordon Marshall. 2005. A Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Shepard, Jon M. 2010. Sociology. 11th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Thompson, William E., and Joseph V. Hickey. 2012. Society in Focus: An Introduction to Sociology. 7th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Thorpe, Christopher, Chris Yuill, Mitchell Hobbs, Sarah Tomley, and Marcus Weeks. 2015. The Sociology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained. London: Dorling Kindersley.

Turner, Bryan S., ed. 2006. The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).

Cite the Definition of Conspicuous Consumption

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “conspicuous consumption.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved December 14, 2019 (https://sociologydictionary.org/conspicuous-consumption/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

conspicuous consumption. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/conspicuous-consumption/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “conspicuous consumption.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed December 14, 2019. https://sociologydictionary.org/conspicuous-consumption/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“conspicuous consumption.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 14 Dec. 2019. <https://sociologydictionary.org/conspicuous-consumption/>.