Material World: Shopping Lingo

Attention, Holiday Shoppers! Stock up on these words related to consumer culture. They're a real bargain, and a great vocabulary never goes out of style.

Read the full article: Attention, Shoppers! The Pricey Language of Consumerism.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. advertising
    the business of drawing attention to goods and services
    He points downtown at a building just past the cheap pizza place: Montego’s Discount Warehouse, advertising its tremendous deals with a waving plastic banner.Better Nate Than Ever
  2. avarice
    reprehensible acquisitiveness; insatiable desire for wealth
    Humans are caught—in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too—in a net of good and evil.East of Eden
  3. bargain
    an advantageous purchase
    “I am a bargain shopper so I look for deals.”Seattle Times (Oct 27, 2017)
  4. brand
    a name given to a product or service
    As part of that, Target is offering new store brands, eight of which are available for the first time this holiday season.Los Angeles Times (Nov 15, 2017)
    This word has exploded in use in recent years, as companies and individuals talk endlessly about their brand. What's a brand? Well, if you're on a ranch, a brand is a mark on cattle. If you're in the marketplace, your brand is also a mark — it's the name of your company, along with people's opinions of it. If people associate good things (like quality and honesty) with your brand, it's good for business.
  5. budget
    a sum of money allocated for a particular purpose
    There are a growing number of art fairs and online marketplaces aimed at buyers with a more modest budget.BBC (Nov 16, 2017)
    A budget is the money allotted to do something, whether for one person, a department of a company, a school, or an entire country. Any person or thing that spends money has a budget. A family has a budget that must account for food, clothing, housing, schooling, and emergencies.
  6. cashier
    a person responsible for receiving payments for goods
    Walmart, whose giant parking lots are famous for welcoming RV travelers, has hired elderly people as store greeters and cashiers.Washington Post (Sep 29, 2017)
  7. commercial
    connected with or engaged in the exchange of goods
    She’s arguably the most famous Kardashian Jenner, and if any of the siblings’ brands are going to achieve commercial success, it’s likely to be hers.Los Angeles Times (Nov 14, 2017)
    Busy stores, full shopping bags, rising stock prices…these are all signs of commerce. Commerce is another word for business. When plenty of people are spending money, there's a lot of commerce. Commerce is the root of commercial, as in "Society has gotten too commercial!" and "Did you see the latest Arby's commercial?"
  8. consumer
    a person who uses goods or services
    U.S. retail sales rose at a solid pace last month, as consumers bought more cars, furniture and clothes.Washington Post (Nov 15, 2017)
  9. consumerism
    the theory that increasing use of goods is beneficial
    Nowhere is the word’s meaninglessness more obvious than in consumerism.The Guardian (Apr 19, 2016)
    To consume is to eat, but when it comes to a capitalist society like ours, there's another important meaning: to buy, buy, buy. Consumers consume goods by buying them, and companies spend huge budgets advertising their wares to get you to purchase their products. You could call companies, large and small, producers, which is the opposite of consumers.
  10. covet
    wish, long, or crave for
    This holiday season, shoppers won’t have to look far to find the year’s coveted toys, as retailers and toy makers forge unlikely alliances to win over consumers.Seattle Times (Nov 4, 2017)
  11. credit
    an estimate of ability to fulfill financial commitments
    He says the scammers may sound credible but that law enforcement officials never ask for bank routing numbers or numbers of credit, debit or gift cards.Seattle Times (Nov 14, 2017)
  12. debt
    the state of owing something, especially money
    It is not surprising that a mere handful of people, plunging into debt at that reckless speed, found their credit suddenly shattered.Queensland
  13. greed
    insatiable desire for wealth
    He showed the small Ferragamo handbag to jurors as he blamed the crime on greed.Seattle Times (Nov 7, 2017)
  14. marketing
    the commercial processes in promoting and selling something
    It remains popular among American teenagers, perhaps the most highly coveted marketing demographic in the world.New York Times (Nov 15, 2017)
  15. materialistic
    marked by a desire for wealth and possessions
    The newly-formed family’s third Christmas together, the Gunters decided to forgo another materialistic holiday, and instead focus on spiritual growth for the kids.Washington Times (Aug 27, 2017)
  16. mercenary
    a person hired to fight for another country than their own
    I explained to her that all yard sales, like all marriages, are innately a little ridiculous, so you have to embrace them for what they are: imperfect mercenary transactions involving largely desperate and dispirited individuals.Los Angeles Times (Apr 29, 2017)
  17. merchandise
    commodities offered for sale
    “To say the least, they were very apologetic,” said Mr. Kelly, who pointedly did not ask the student-athletes whether they had, in fact, attempted to steal the merchandise they were accused of taking.New York Times (Nov 14, 2017)
  18. outlet
    a place of business for retailing goods
    Luxury goods retailer Burberry is planning to close some stores and stop selling in outlets that are not sufficiently upmarket.BBC (Nov 9, 2017)
  19. possession
    anything owned
    The author reflects on her favorite possessions: paintings by the artist and fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt.New York Times (Nov 1, 2017)
    To possess something is to have it, so things you own are possessions. In a commercial society like ours, companies play on our desire to have more possessions with relentless commercials, while coupons and sales entice us to pile up even more stuff. People have insurance in case they lose their possessions, but some can't be replaced so easily, such as family heirlooms, old photographs, autographed books, and other items that are rare or full of meaning.
  20. purchase
    acquire by means of a financial transaction
    It’s seen success with the device: With $8 million in sales, the clip-on tracker is the only activity tracker available for purchase from the Apple Store besides the Apple Watch.Slate (Nov 16, 2017)
  21. retail
    the selling of goods to consumers
    The Kohl’s retail chain says it plans to open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, an hour earlier than last year.Seattle Times (Nov 2, 2017)
  22. endorse
    give support or one's approval to
    With men from popular reality TV shows like Geordie Shore and Made in Chelsea endorsing cosmetics, and beauty bloggers and brands championing the trend, male make-up is in the limelight.BBC (Nov 17, 2017)
    To endorse someone or something is to give public support. You hear about endorsing a lot during elections, as famous people and other politicians will give endorsements of candidates. In the commercial world, endorsements are a little different: celebrities who do commercials for a product are endorsing it. Since they get paid for these endorsements, you might want to give some thought to whether the endorser actually knows anything about what they're endorsing.

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