embarrassment of riches

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From John Ozell's 1738 translation of a French play, L'Embarras des richesses (1726) by Léonor Jean Christine Soulas d'Allainval.

Noun[edit]

embarrassment of riches (plural embarrassments of riches)

  1. (idiomatic) An abundance or overabundance of something; too much of a good thing.
    • 1908, Myrtle Reed, Flower of the Dusk, ch. 23,
      Roger was in the library, trying to choose, from an embarrassment of riches, the ten of his father's books which he was to be permitted to take to the city.
    • 2006, Daniel Ginsberg, "Opera in Berlin: A Staat of Flux," Washington Post, 8 Jan., p. N06,
      What might be an embarrassment of riches—a city with three independent and artistically distinct opera companies—may become a lose-lose-lose situation.