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Definition of "sumptuary" []

  • Regulating or limiting personal expenditures. (adjective)
  • Regulating commercial or real-estate activities: sumptuary laws discouraging construction of large houses on small plots of land. (adjective)
  • Regulating personal behavior on moral or religious grounds: sumptuary laws forbidding gambling. (adjective)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "sumptuary" in a sentence
  • "In those days there was a law, known as a sumptuary law, which regulated by statute the clothes that each class of people were privileged to wear."
  • "Perhaps it was from this cause that the idea of sumptuary laws originated; for though, in some cases, the pride of being distinguished might occasion the sovereign to enact, or the higher orders of society to solicit them, yet they were always considered as tending to prevent ruinous extravagance."
  • "He was fascinated by the "sumptuary" distinctions that separated the truly well off from the "shoestring aristocrats" and the shoestring aristocrats from those simply aspiring to their status."