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sumptuary law (plural sumptuary laws)

  1. (historical) A law that attempts to regulate permitted consumption, especially of clothing, food, and luxury expenditures.
    • 1843 April, Thomas Carlyle, chapter XIII, in Past and Present, American edition, Boston, Mass.: Charles C[offin] Little and James Brown, published 1843, →OCLC, book III (The Modern Worker):
      The Sumptuary Laws have fallen into such a state of desuetude as was never before seen. Our fashionable coat is an amphibium between barn-sack and drayman’s doublet.
    • 2022, W. David Marx, chapter 2, in Status and Culture, Viking, →ISBN:
      In past societies based on ascribed status, formal rules and proclamations regulated lifestyle conventions. Sumptuary laws codified which classes could wear which garments. [] With the development of achieved status, we've abandoned sumptuary laws and given Lady Justice a blindfold.

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