If you know someone who's totally addicted to luxurious things and all of life's pleasures, call her a sybarite. Unless she's inviting you over for champagne brunches and showering you with gifts — in which case you should keep your mouth shut.

Sybarite was first recorded in the 1600s, meaning a “person devoted to pleasure.” The literal translation of this noun is “inhabitant of Sybaris,” which was an ancient Greek town full of citizens who loved nice things. Today, the word still has the same two meanings: it's either a person who could be described as addicted to pleasures and luxury (like a hedonist), or an actual person who lives in Sybaris.

Definitions of sybarite
  1. noun
    a person addicted to luxury and pleasures of the senses
    synonyms: voluptuary
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    type of:
    a person who enjoys sensuality
Commonly confused words

Vocabulary Shout-Out: John le Carré for "Sybarite"

In his recent thriller Our Kind of Traitor, John le Carré slips the A+ word sybarite into a description of the many sides of ingenue spy and literature professor Perry Makepiece.

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