Definition of sumptuary in English:



historical attributive
  • Relating to or denoting laws that limit private expenditure on food and personal items.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘What, in particular, was the diet of national leaders who introduced sumptuary laws, to prevent extravagant expenditure on food and wine?’
    • ‘The next chapter shifts focus to define the ‘morality’ of color, investigating practices like sumptuary legislation, intended to control wearing apparel and facilitate easy distinction of social classes in public places.’
    • ‘The Texas statute is sumptuary law that has no value in jurisprudence or society.’
    • ‘He also rejected the idea that governments need concern themselves with the drinking habits of poor people or have any business passing sumptuary laws to restrain how poor people dress.’
    • ‘The sumptuary legislation that had once guaranteed the accurate display of social rank for both men and women under the Old Regime gave way to a more implicit code of masculine sameness and female difference.’
    • ‘Ritual, extravagant traditional symbolism of rank and office, and elaborate sumptuary legislation soon appeared.’
    • ‘The more covert and salacious these prints were, the more they were treasured by the general populace, who at such times were also frustrated by limits placed on their dress and behavior by strict sumptuary codes.’
    • ‘To his contemporaries he seemed subversive, robbing aristocracy of its sumptuary prerogatives.’
    • ‘Much like Western sumptuary laws, the intricate rules of ancestor worship were strictly enforced.’
    • ‘In the Middle Ages, aristocrats and clerics were protected by a panoply of rules and customs - sumptuary laws, for example - that separated them from the peons.’
    • ‘In fact, ancient sumptuary laws, explaining exactly what objects were forbidden by church and state, were read from the Anglican pulpit until the 1860s.’
    • ‘My argument here is based on a sense of clothing's inability to signify depth, despite the attempts of sumptuary laws to fix clothing as a stable referent for identity.’
    • ‘Puritan settlers abided by English sumptuary laws that prohibited extravagance and regulated clothing styles according to trade, rank, and wealth.’
    • ‘While some of the items in this burial are sumptuary, such as the beads and bone flute, the article described these items, including the small pot, as being placed with the infant rather than the adult female.’
    • ‘Under Raffles and for some time afterward, ground rent was virtually the sole source of public revenue except for sumptuary taxes on opium and liquor.’
    • ‘But sumptuary taxes, although sometimes prolific revenue producers, often fail in their intended function; when set high enough on a commodity to deter legal sale, they are evaded on the black market.’
    • ‘Trade was controlled through feudal guilds, and detailed sumptuary regulations governed the lives of all social classes.’


Early 17th century from Latin sumptuarius, from sumptus ‘cost, expenditure’, from sumere ‘take’.