from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • Veblen, Thorstein Bunde 1857-1929. American economist who described a fundamental conflict between the provision of goods and the making of money. In his popular study The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899) he coined the phrase conspicuous consumption.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. United States mathematician (1880-1960)
  • n. United States economist who wrote about conspicuous consumption (1857-1929)


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • That is exactly how Thorstein Veblen used this term.

    Douglass North at Length, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • As Thorstein Veblen noted, people do not buy things because they have any utility, they buy thing to show that they can afford to waste them.

    Matthew Yglesias » My Assigment Desk

  • I would say the same about more left-wing thinkers like Thorstein Veblen and Karl Polanyi as well, who should also get more attention from economists.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Does Hayek Belong in High School Economics Classes?

  • Channeling Thorstein Veblen, I would note that books are long and thick because that ensured that only the wealthy men of the aristocracy and Church had time to read them — and hence only those men could claim exclusive knowledge of the Wisdom of the Ages, thereby making them uniquely qualified to Rule.

    Matthew Yglesias » (Many) Books Are Too Long

  • So the researchers went back to Thorstein Veblen, who coined the term conspicuous consumption.

    Inconspicuous Consumption

  • Thorstein Veblen coined the term conspicuous consumption; he “argued that people spent lavishly on visible goods to prove that they were prosperous”:

    Inconspicuous Consumption « Isegoria

  • Since the days of Thorstein Veblen, Vance Packard and John Kenneth Galbraith social critics have been claiming that producers sell what they want and influence consumer tastes to conform.

    Fuse lit « BuzzMachine

  • Do you think that perhaps Thorstein Veblen's theory of wealth — that there are diminishing returns in satisfaction with each rung one climbs on the economic ladder — applies to politics?

    Rebels Without a Cause

  • By "theirs" I mean that of such killjoys as Thorstein Veblen (who coined the phrase "conspicuous consumption" in his 1899 Theory of the Leisure Class), Juliet Schor (The Overspent American, 1998), and John Kenneth Galbraith (The Affluent Society, 1958).

    Burgher Deluxe

  • Nor does Thorstein Veblen's model — in which consumers are involved in a status race to keep up with the Joneses.

    Light Shows of the Mind


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