sumptuary

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

PIE word
*upó
An engraving by Abraham Bosse entitled Le Courtisan Suivant le Dernier Édit (The Courtier Following the Latest Edict, 1633). In November of that year, Louis XIII of France had issued a sumptuary edict (sense 2.1) prohibiting anyone except royalty and nobility from wearing luxurious clothes. In the caption of the engraving, the courtier tells his lackey to sell the expensive clothes on the chair, as he is uncomfortable with too much luxury and wishes to obey the edit.

From Latin sūmptuārius (of or relating to expenditure, sumptuary; person in charge of household expenses) + English -ary (suffix meaning ‘of or pertaining to’ forming adjectives). Sūmptuārius is derived from sūmptus (charge, cost, expense) + -ārius (suffix forming adjectives);[1] and sūmptus from sūmō (to catch, seize, take; to acquire, get, obtain; to apply, employ, use; to consume, spend) (from sub- (prefix meaning ‘below, beneath, under’) + emō (to acquire, procure; to buy, purchase) (from Proto-Indo-European *h₁em- (to distribute; to take))) + -tus (suffix forming action nouns from verbs).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈsʌm(p)t͡ʃʊəɹi/, /ˈsʌm(p)tjʊəɹi/, /ˈsʌm(p)t͡ʃəɹi/, /ˈsʌm(p)tjʊɹi/
  • (file)
  • (General American) IPA(key): /ˈsʌm(p)(t)ʃuˌɛɹi/, /-tju-/, /-(t)ʃəˌwɛɹi/
  • Hyphenation: sump‧tu‧a‧ry

Adjective[edit]

sumptuary (comparative more sumptuary, superlative most sumptuary)

  1. Relating to expenditure or expense, especially on luxury goods.
    • 1999, María Rostworowski de Diez Canesco, “Economic Models”, in Harry B. Iceland, transl., History of the Inca Realm, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, page 212:
      Among the trade goods mentioned are not only luxury items but also food produce, which contradicts the idea of exclusively sumptuary trade. Quite possibly these northern lords maintained sporadic trade with Guayaquil in pre-Hispanic times.
  2. (law, historical)
    1. Chiefly in sumptuary law: of a law, regulation, etc.: intended to limit or restrain the expenditure of citizens in apparel, food, furniture, etc., or to forbid the use of certain articles (especially luxurious ones), to regulate the prices of commodities and the wages of labour, or to reinforce morals or social hierarchies.
      • a. 1662 (date written), Thomas Fuller, “Northampton-shire”, in The History of the Worthies of England, London: [] J[ohn] G[rismond,] W[illiam] L[eybourne] and W[illiam] G[odbid], published 1662, OCLC 418859860, page 298:
        Some vvill vvonder, that Empſon and Dudley (the Royal Promoters then in prime) did not catch him [Nicholas Vaux, 1st Baron Vaux of Harrowden] by the Collar, or pick an hole in his Govvn, upon the breach of ſome ruſty ſumptuary Statute; the rather, becauſe lately the Earl of Oxford vvas heavily fined for ſupernumerous attendance.
      • 1766, [Oliver Goldsmith], “A Proof that Even the Humblest Fortune may Grant Happiness and Delight, which Depend Not on Circumstance, but Constitution”, in The Vicar of Wakefield: [], volume I, Salisbury, Wiltshire: [] B. Collins, for F[rancis] Newbery, [], OCLC 938500648; reprinted London: Elliot Stock, 1885, OCLC 21416084, page 37:
        When Sunday came, it was indeed a day of finery, which all my ſumptuary edicts could not reſtrain. How well ſo ever I fancied my lectures againſt pride had conquered the vanity of my daughters; yet I ſtill found them ſecretly attached to all their former finery: []
      • 1831, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], chapter XIV, in Romance and Reality. [], volume I, London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, [], OCLC 24531354, page 123:
        Out upon the folly of modern liberty, which has abolished sumptuary laws, and left us to all the horrors of our own inventions! Liberty of conscience is bad enough—the liberty of the press is still worse—but worst of all is liberty of taste in dress to common people.
    2. (by extension) Of or relating to sumptuary laws or regulations.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ sumptuary, adj. and n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2022; “sumptuary, adj.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading[edit]