What does the idiom "status symbol" mean?

Although the meanings of the words in them do not make any sense when examined one by one, the word groups that are shaped according to the cultural roots of the language and that make sense as a whole are called idioms. status symbol meaning, in what situations is it used?

Meaning of "status symbol"


A 'status symbol' is an item, behaviour or possession that is used as a way to demonstrate a person's social or economic status, prestige, or wealth. It can also be used to broadcast a person's place in a particular social group. These symbols are usually in the form of materialistic possessions, such as luxury cars, designer clothing, or jewelry, but can also incorporate social behaviours, such as speaking in a certain accent or displaying good table manners.


The phrase ‘status symbol’ was first seen in the early 1900s. Its origin is unknown, but it likely derives from the concept of status, which dates back to the 15th century, from the Latin phrase ‘status’, meaning ‘state’. The term ‘symbol’ dates back to the 16th century, from the Latin phrase ‘symbolum’, meaning ‘mark’ or ‘sign’. The two words put together would thus mean ‘mark of status’ or ‘sign of state’, which is fitting for the phrase.


The phrase ‘status symbol’ is used to discuss material items or behaviours used to show off a person’s social or economic status. It is usually used in a negative context, suggesting that the items or behaviours being displayed are superficial, or that they do not necessarily reflect the true value of a person. The phrase is often used as an analysis of consumer behavior to describe why some people buy certain products, or why they choose to dress or act a certain way. It is also used more generally to describe different aspects of a person’s lifestyle, such as their home or car, which are often used to convey a person’s wealth, success, or prestige.

Example Sentences

  • Her designer handbag was a status symbol that made her stand out from the crowd.
  • He wanted to appear successful, so he drove a car that was a status symbol of wealth and success.
  • The house was a status symbol of the family's wealth and success.

The meanings of the words in the "status symbol" idiom

The universal role of idioms

"Kill two birds with one stone" is an English idiom that means to accomplish two things with a single action. In French, the similar idiom is "Faire d'une pierre deux coups," which translates to "To kill two birds with one stone." This idiom highlights the efficiency of completing two tasks with one action.


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