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1. something expensive that you enjoy but do not really need

2. a situation in which you are very comfortable, with the best and most expensive things around you

Origin and usage

Used in Middle English to imply lechery, the earliest use of luxury in the modern sense of the term comes from the mid-17th century. The word comes via the Old French ‘luxurie’ and ‘luxure’, from the Latin ‘luxuria’, which derives from ‘luxus’ meaning ‘excess’.


While the general concept of luxury has not changed much over time, the kind of luxuries that are available to the modern consumer has greatly expanded, thanks in part to technological advance. The luxury goods industry, in particular, is an excellent example of the kind of products that are considered non-essential and often come with big price tags. These luxury items might include jewellery and makeup, but also many of the latest electronic devices including phones, watches and speakers.

Different luxury goods rise and fall in popularity over time. In the modern age, the ways in which these products are purchased is changing quickly with more people ordering products online, either from a computer or a smartphone. Social media is helping to change the way that people find out about luxury items that are currently in fashion and advertisements on social media platforms continue to increase year on year.

Although luxury items do not directly improve the buyer’s quality of life, owning luxury products traditionally conveys an air of sophistication, style and cultivation.


“Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity.”

(Coco Chanel)

“Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury – to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for both the body and the mind.”

(Albert Einstein)


amusement, indulgence, treat

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

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