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[ik-spen-siv] /ɪkˈspɛn sɪv/
entailing great expense; very high-priced; costly:
an expensive party.
Origin of expensive
First recorded in 1620-30; expense + -ive
Related forms
expensively, adverb
expensiveness, noun
quasi-expensive, adjective
quasi-expensively, adverb
Can be confused
expansive, expensive (see synonym study at the current entry)
Expensive, costly, dear, high-priced apply to something that is high in price. Expensive is applied to whatever entails considerable expense; it suggests a price more than the average person would normally be able to pay or a price paid only for something special: an expensive automobile. Costly implies that the price is a large sum, usually because of the fineness, preciousness, etc., of the object: a costly jewel. Dear is commonly applied in England to something that is selling beyond its usual or just price. In the U.S., high-priced is the usual equivalent.
cheap, low-priced. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for expensively
Historical Examples
  • You saw her in and out of the shops of the district, expensively dressed.

    Gigolo Edna Ferber
  • She was expensively attired, her garments rustling richly when she moved.

    A Sheaf of Corn Mary E. Mann
  • He could live economically or expensively, according to his preference.

    The Land of the Kangaroo

    Thomas Wallace Knox
  • She had been expensively produced and there would be a good deal more of her to come.

    Some Short Stories Henry James
  • They can only govern after absolute conquest, and then expensively.

  • They were gayly and expensively dressed, in the height of the fashion.

    Mildred at Roselands Martha Finley
  • The room they were in was a large one, expensively furnished in black oak.

    The Mystery of the Downs John R. Watson
  • Their bodies were left as debris in the roadway so expensively constructed.

  • Whether she was richly or expensively attired he did not know.

    A Gamble with Life Silas K. Hocking
  • It was a pretty little hat, expensively simple, but it was the hat of a lady!

    In And Out Edgar Franklin
British Dictionary definitions for expensively


high-priced; costly; dear
Derived Forms
expensively, adverb
expensiveness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for expensively



1620s, "given to profuse expenditure," from expense (n.) + -ive. Meaning "costly" is from 1630s. Earlier was expenseful (c.1600). Expenseless was in use mid-17c.-18c., but there seems nothing now to which it applies, and the dictionaries label it "obsolete."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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