9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[ik-spen-siv] /ɪkˈspɛn sɪv/
entailing great expense; very high-priced; costly:
an expensive party.
Origin of expensive
1620-30; expense + -ive
Related forms
expensively, adverb
expensiveness, noun
quasi-expensive, adjective
quasi-expensively, adverb
Can be confused
expansive, expensive (see synonym study at the current entry)
Expensive, costly, dear, high-priced apply to something that is high in price. Expensive is applied to whatever entails considerable expense; it suggests a price more than the average person would normally be able to pay or a price paid only for something special: an expensive automobile. Costly implies that the price is a large sum, usually because of the fineness, preciousness, etc., of the object: a costly jewel. Dear is commonly applied in England to something that is selling beyond its usual or just price. In the U.S., high-priced is the usual equivalent.
cheap, low-priced. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for expensive
  • Although single-crystal cells offer high conversion efficiencies, they are expensive to make.
  • She paired the bargain finds with high-end partners, such as standard tiles with expensive faucets, to get the look she wanted.
  • Orphan drugs are expensive to produce, and prices need to be set high to recoup costs within such a small market.
  • Maintenance of these treasures can be difficult and expensive, but their high appeal to tourists helps to keep them running.
  • Yet high-yield varieties are also genetically weaker crops that require expensive chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides.
  • The switch to high-definition was expensive for everybody.
  • The fact is, the people who buy expensive equipment more often than not have a drive to create high quality images.
  • The machines in the factories were complex and expensive and becoming more so by the year.
  • And the longer before the plug is pulled, the more expensive.
  • Solar panels are far too limited and far too expensive for what they do.
British Dictionary definitions for expensive


high-priced; costly; dear
Derived Forms
expensively, adverb
expensiveness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for expensive

1620s, "given to profuse expenditure," from expense (n.) + -ive. Meaning "costly" is from 1630s. Earlier was expenseful (c.1600). Expenseless was in use mid-17c.-18c., but there seems nothing now to which it applies, and the dictionaries label it "obsolete."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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