Alternative formsEdit


From Latin expēnsīvus, from expendō; synchronically analyzable as expense +‎ -ive. In the sense of "high-priced" has largely displaced dear.



expensive (comparative more expensive, superlative most expensive)

  1. (obsolete) Given to expending a lot of money; profligate, lavish.
    • 1748, Samuel Richardson, Clarissa, I.4:
      [H]e had been very expensive when abroad; and contracted a large debt […].
    • 1751, Tobias Smollett, The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, I.25:
      [T]hus naturally generous and expensive, he squandered away his money, and made a most splendid appearance upon the receipt of his quarterly appointment [] .
  2. Having a high price or cost.
    • 2006, Edwin Black, chapter 1, in Internal Combustion[1]:
      If successful, Edison and Ford—in 1914—would move society away from the ever more expensive and then universally known killing hazards of gasoline cars: […] .
    • 2013 June 22, “T time”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8841, page 68:
      […] a new study of how Starbucks has largely avoided paying tax in Britain […] shows that current tax rules make it easy for all sorts of firms to generate […] “stateless income”: […]. […] the firm has in effect turned the process of making an expensive cup of coffee into intellectual property.
  3. (computing) Taking a lot of system time or resources.
    an unnecessarily expensive choice of algorithm



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