Something that is expensive costs a lot of money:
The meal was very expensive.
ex‧pen‧sive S1 W2 /ɪkˈspensɪv/ BrE AmE adjective
[Word Family: noun: ↑expenditure, ↑expense, expenses; verb: ↑expend; adverb: ↑expensively ≠ ↑inexpensively; adjective: ↑expensive ≠ ↑inexpensive]
costing a lot of money OPP cheap:
the most expensive restaurant in town
Petrol is becoming more and more expensive.
Photography is an expensive hobby.
expensive to buy/run/produce/maintain etc
The house was too big and expensive to run.
For low-income families, children’s safety equipment can be prohibitively expensive (=so expensive that most people cannot afford it).
Employing the wrong builder can be a horribly expensive mistake.
Her husband had expensive tastes (=liked expensive things).
She’s always expensively dressed.
• • •
▪ quite/fairly expensive The food’s quite expensive, but it’s really nice.
▪ rather/pretty expensive (=more expensive than you expect) I think £1000 for a bed is rather expensive.
▪ very/extremely expensive We ate at a very expensive restaurant.
▪ astronomically/phenomenally expensive (=used to emphasize how expensive something is) Some new medical treatments are phenomenally expensive.
▪ hugely expensive (=extremely expensive, especially when you think something is too expensive) The building is hugely expensive to maintain.
▪ ridiculously/outrageously/horrendously expensive (=extremely expensive, in a way that seems shocking) Room service in the hotel was ridiculously expensive.
▪ extortionately expensive (=extremely expensive, in a way that is not fair or reasonable) Houses in some parts of London are extortionately expensive.
▪ prohibitively expensive formal (=too expensive, with the result that most people cannot afford to buy something) HIV medicines are still prohibitively expensive for sufferers in Africa.
▪ look expensive All of her clothes look very expensive.
▪ prove expensive Their decision could prove expensive.
▪ expensive tastes (=a desire to have things that are very expensive) His wife has very expensive tastes and his kids always want the latest things.
▪ an expensive mistake (=a mistake which results in someone having to spend a lot of money) Choosing the wrong builder turned out to be an expensive mistake.
• • •
▪ expensive costing a lot of money: an expensive car | Apartments in the city are very expensive. | An underground train system is expensive to build.
▪ high costing a lot of money.You use high about rents/fees/prices/costs. Don’t use expensive with these words: Rents are very high in this area. | Lawyers charge high fees. | the high cost of living in Japan
▪ dear [not before noun] British English spoken expensive compared to the usual price: £3.50 seems rather dear for a cup of coffee.
▪ pricey /ˈpraɪsi/ informal expensive: The clothes are beautiful but pricey.
▪ costly expensive in a way that wastes money: Upgrading the system would be very costly. | They were anxious to avoid a costly legal battle.
▪ cost a fortune informal to be very expensive: The necklace must have cost a fortune!
▪ exorbitant /ɪɡˈzɔːbətənt, ɪɡˈzɔːbɪtənt $ -ɔːr-/ much too expensive: Some accountants charge exorbitant fees.
▪ astronomical astronomical prices, costs, and fees are extremely high: the astronomical cost of developing a new spacecraft | the astronomical prices which some people had paid for their seats | The cost of living is astronomical.
▪ overpriced too expensive and not worth the price: The DVDs were vastly overpriced.
▪ somebody can’t afford something someone does not have enough money to buy or do something: Most people can’t afford to send their children to private schools.
ex·pen·sive [ɪkˈspensɪv] [ɪkˈspensɪv] adjective
costing a lot of money
• an expensive car/restaurant/holiday
• Art books are expensive to produce.
• I can't afford it, it's too expensive.
• Making the wrong decision could prove expensive.
• That dress was an expensive mistake.
Derived Word: expensively
early 17th cent. (in the sense ‘lavish, extravagant’): from Latin expens- ‘paid out’, from the verb expendere, from ex- ‘out’ + pendere ‘weigh, pay’ + -ive.
expensive [expensive expensively] adj.
• I can't afford expensive restaurants.
costly • • overpriced • |informal pricey •
Opp: cheap, Opp: inexpensive
expensive/costly/pricey for sb/sth
expensive/costly to do sth
costly • overpriced • pricey
These word all describe sth that costs a lot of money.
expensive • costing a lot of money; charging high prices: ▪ I can't afford it— it's just too expensive for me. ◊ ▪ an expensive restaurant
costly • (rather formal) costing a lot of money, especially more than you want to pay: ▪ You want to avoid costly legal proceedings if you can.
overpriced • too expensive; costing more than it is worth: ▪ ridiculously overpriced designer clothes
pricey • (informal) expensive: ▪ Houses in the village are now too pricey for local people to afford.
dear • [not usually before noun] (BrE) expensive: ▪ Everything's so dear now, isn't it?
This word is starting to become rather old-fashioned.
expensive/costly/overpriced/pricey for sb/sth
expensive/costly to do sth
• Food in this country is getting very expensive.
• Giving every patient an annual anti-flu injection would be prohibitively expensive.
• Her suit looked extremely expensive.
• I found the food very expensive.
• Some of these legal cases are enormously expensive.
• Walls are generally the greatest source of heat loss and correspondingly expensive to tackle.
• discreetly expensive perfume
• Art books are enormously expensive to produce.
• I can't afford it— it's just too expensive for me.
• Making the wrong decision could prove to be expensive.
• That dress was an expensive mistake.
• an expensive restaurant
Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary - 4th Edition
expensive / ɪkˈspen.sɪv / adjective
A1 costing a lot of money:
Rolls Royces are very expensive.
Big houses are expensive to maintain.
She has expensive tastes (= she likes things that cost a lot of money) .
expensively / -li / adverb
Sarah is always expensively dressed (= wearing expensive clothes) .
© Cambridge University Press 2013
Frequency: The word is one of the 1500 most common words in English.
If something is expensive, it costs a lot of money.
Wine’s so expensive in this country...
I get very nervous because I’m using a lot of expensive equipment.
She was expensively dressed, with fine furs and jewels...
ADV: ADV -ed, ADV after v
ex·pen·sive /ɪkˈspɛnsɪv/ adj [more ~; most ~] : costing a lot of money
• an expensive hobby
• an expensive car
• expensive clothes
• The lights were expensive to install.
• They live in an expensive neighborhood. [=a neighborhood in which houses, apartments, etc., cost a lot to buy or rent]
• Her decision to leave the company proved to be an expensive mistake. [=a mistake that caused her to lose a lot of money]
• an expensive shop [=a shop that sells expensive things]
• He has expensive tastes. [=he likes expensive things]
- ex·pen·sive·ly adv
• He dresses expensively.