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.


6 Answers 6


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.

  • 3
    Profligate is perfect. Commented Sep 17, 2012 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
    Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 13:34

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

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


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

  • 2
    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). Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 8:26
  • @Mechanicalsnail Eh? OP asks specifically for "wasteful" spending. Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 18:54

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


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

A lavish cigar.

  • 3
    Lavish doesn't really carry a connotation of wasteful, though (for me).
    – Reid
    Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 5:56
  • 1
    @Reid It certainly does. Consider that the verb form of “lavish” has the following meanings: squander - waste - dissipate. Commented Sep 17, 2012 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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