[ kuh n-soo-muh-riz-uh m ]
/ kənˈsu məˌrɪz əm /


a modern movement for the protection of the consumer against useless, inferior, or dangerous products, misleading advertising, unfair pricing, etc.
the concept that an ever-expanding consumption of goods is advantageous to the economy.
the fact or practice of an increasing consumption of goods: a critic of American consumerism.

Nearby words

  1. consumer packaged goods,
  2. consumer price index,
  3. consumer product safety commission,
  4. consumer strike,
  5. consumer terrorism,
  6. consumerist,
  7. consumerize,
  8. consuming,
  9. consummate,
  10. consummated

Origin of consumerism

An Americanism dating back to 1940–45; consumer + -ism

Related formsan·ti·con·sum·er·ism, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for consumerism

British Dictionary definitions for consumerism


/ (kənˈsjuːməˌrɪzəm) /


protection of the interests of consumers
advocacy of a high rate of consumption and spending as a basis for a sound economy
Derived Formsconsumerist, noun, adjective

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

Word Origin and History for consumerism



1944, "protection of the consumer's interest," from consumer + -ism. Also, "encouraging consumption as an economic policy" (1960). Related: Consumerist (1965, n.; 1969, adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for consumerism


A movement in the United States that seeks to protect consumers against shoddy or improperly labeled products. (See Ralph Nader.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.