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We were just thinking that that is a concept that really ought to have a word. "Wastefully rich"; for example, smoking a $100 bill as a cigarette.

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Extravagant suggests unreasonable excess, with an emphasis on wasteful spending (from a usage note under profuse, in NOAD) – J.R. Sep 17 '12 at 0:40
Aren't they called the 1% ? – Shadur Sep 17 '12 at 9:09
Do you mean that they are so rich that they can be wasteful without effecting their wealth? – user14070 Sep 17 '12 at 13:33
up vote 14 down vote accepted

There are lots of good words that might apply:

  • profligate
  • extravagant
  • spendthrift
  • wastrel
  • reckless
  • cavalier
  • squandering
  • wasteful

Combining one of these with an immoderate adverb of one sort or another should get the point across just fine.

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Profligate is perfect. – Ellie Kesselman Sep 17 '12 at 0:41
All of these seem to imply that the money will shortly be gone, however, I get the sense from the OP that they are looking for a term for someone so rich that they can waste money without reducing, or at least without endangering, their wealth. – user14070 Sep 17 '12 at 13:34

The word I would normally use in this situation is decadent.

It connotes moral decline, deterioration, and importantly, luxurious self-indulgence.

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The classic term is conspicuous consumption, coined by Thorstein Veblen in The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899).

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Not quite the same; conspicuous consumption is specifically for show, whereas this can be for other reasons (e.g. it's not worth your time to save money when time is the limiting factor). – Mechanical snail Sep 17 '12 at 8:26
@Mechanicalsnail Eh? OP asks specifically for "wasteful" spending. – StoneyB Sep 20 '12 at 18:54

I like prodigal -- especially if the person used to be rich and wasteful but has given it up.

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If you're looking for an adjective, I think Lavish would be perfect. For example:

A lavish cigar.

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Lavish doesn't really carry a connotation of wasteful, though (for me). – Reid Sep 17 '12 at 5:56
@Reid It certainly does. Consider that the verb form of “lavish” has the following meanings: squander - waste - dissipate. – Konrad Rudolph Sep 17 '12 at 9:42

I'd go for ostentatiously rich / wealthy. It's clear visibility to others that counts.

Wealthy people don't get or stay that way by habitually "wasting" money. If Bill Gates drinks beer that costs $100 a bottle, that's probably because he likes it (and can afford it, obviously).

I'm not sure anyone would prefer smoking a $100 bill rather than a good cigar, but I'd hazard a guess that anyone who actually did this would be more concerned with how the action would be seen by others, rather than the quality of the experience per se.

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protected by RegDwigнt Sep 17 '12 at 8:45

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