Definition of sumptuary in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsʌm(p)tjʊəri/


[attributive] chiefly historical
Relating to or denoting laws that limit private expenditure on food and personal items.
Example sentences
  • I call for legislating a mandatory sumptuary code strictly limiting persons licensed to wear them.
  • There is evidence of the sheer silk called ‘tiffany’ often used for women's hoods, and of bone or bobbin lace, forbidden to common people in sumptuary laws, but displayed lavishly on the waistcoats and petticoats of merchant families.
  • Such magistracies ranged from feeding the homeless, enforcing sumptuary laws, protecting common lands, to protecting abused women, among other tasks.


Early 17th century: from Latin sumptuarius, from sumptus 'cost, expenditure', from sumere 'take'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: sump¦tu|ary

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