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status symbol

Definition of Status Symbol

(noun) A visible and material example of an individual’s status, typically used to display their wealth or power.

Examples of Status Symbol

  • An expensive and limited edition car.
  • Reserved parking spot.

Status Symbol Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: stat·us sym·bol

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /stAY-tuhs sIm-buhl/
  • British English – /stAY-tuhs sIm-buhl/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ˈstætəs ˈsɪmbəl/
  • British English – /ˈsteɪtəs ˈsɪmbəl/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: status symbols
  • Status symbols are related to conspicuous consumption.
  • Veblen goods are status symbols, these products that are in demand primarily because of their high price and serve as markers of status. Examples of Veblen goods include designer handbags, jewelry, and luxury cars.

Related Quotation

Additional Information

Related Terms


Redfern, P. A. 2003. “What Makes Gentrification ‘Gentrification’?” Urban Studies 40(12):2351–66. doi:10.1080/0042098032000136101.

Works Consulted

Ferrante, Joan. 2011. Seeing Sociology: An Introduction. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

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

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

Kendall, Diana. 2011. Sociology in Our Times. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Kornblum, William. 2008. Sociology in a Changing World. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

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

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

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

Taylor & Francis. (N.d.) Routledge Handbooks Online. (https://www.routledgehandbooks.com/).

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

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).

Wiley. (N.d.) Wiley Online Library. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/).

Cite the Definition of Status Symbol

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “status symbol.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 18, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/status-symbol/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

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

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

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “status symbol.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 18, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/status-symbol/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“status symbol.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 18 Jun. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/status-symbol/>.