In typical American culture, and likely in many others, money is supposed to be something we don't discuss too directly and well-mannered people are expected to use words that maintain a few feet of distance between them and the actual concept of dollar bills. When you discuss it too directly, this word describes such a situation.


  • Walking into HR and saying "I need more money". Eek, too direct. Maybe discuss adjusting "salary" or "compensation" instead
  • A bank having pictures of bars of gold, diamonds, or stacks of hundred dollar bills on the walls
  • An executive driving a Ferrari around on a daily basis
  • Golden toilet seats
  • Pulling out a wad of hundred dollar bills at the grocery store checkout and openly counting through them without any attempt at hiding how much money you have from onlookers
  • An investment firm calling themselves Cash Firm

These are all examples of cultural faux-pas, being too showy or direct with discussions of money, both among those who have money, and among those who wish to be perceived as having money.

Here are some similar words:

  • ostentatious - doesn't really apply to cases in which money is mentioned but not used
  • "new money" - doesn't capture the whole story, and only includes those who actually have money
  • unclassy - not very specific, includes many other behaviors as well

Is there a word that captures the idea of being too visible with money, not putting enough physical and metaphorical distance between the concept and how it's discussed?

  • Golden toilet seats? Stinking rich. Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 19:17
  • Those are just examples of bad taste.
    – user 66974
    Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 19:31
  • Almost as expensive, but more practical are Japanese bidet-toilet seats. Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 19:36
  • Brash – Self-assertive in a rude, noisy, or overbearing way. Having an ostentatious or tasteless appearance. Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 19:47
  • tactless, blunt, rude can all fit various of your scenarios.
    – Jim
    Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 21:59

3 Answers 3


Some of the circumstances you describe might merit the word flashy.

flashy = ostentatious or showy often beyond the bounds of good taste

Merriam Webster

flashy = looking too bright, big, and expensive in a way that is intended to get attention and admiration

Cambridge dictionary

  • 1
    OP needs tightening, I think, but this doesn't fit 'Walking into HR and saying "I need more money" '. Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 19:30

I'd say that gaudy fits the bill, especially the second definition (marked by...tasteless showiness).


In my experience, the word that is most commonly used to describe the broad spectrum of situations that you are describing is gauche. The word doesn't strictly mean what you have in mind, but I think it fits the bill quite nicely.

a : lacking social experience or grace also : not tactful : crude; "It would be gauche to mention the subject."

  • I've definitely heard gauche used that way, but it's a bit broader than just money, referring to any situation involving violations of social norms Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 23:39
  • The softness and vagueness of this term are important here. Just as polite people don’t make direct reference to another person’s income, polite critics apply a soft label to the behavior (and not the person). So the clueless jerk becomes the perpetrator of a rather gauche thing to do. Labels apply to the giver as well as the receiver.
    – user205876
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 3:18

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