bling-bling
n. Expensive or gaudy jewelry worn in excessive amounts; a flashy or tasteless display of wealth. Also: bling bling; bling. —adj.

Example Citations:
In circles where these things matter, there's some debate around the question of who exactly coined the term [bling-bling]. Most point the finger at a gentleman by the name of Baby Gangsta, who plies his trade with a group called Cash Money Millionaires. There was no sign of Mr Gangsta in the Fianna Fail tent this week, but the rest of his outfit were all present and correct. In true bling-bling style, conspicuous, pointless expenditure was the order of the day. What other reason could there possibly be for dropping several grand on a plate of "honey-glazed lamb with a smoked bacon stuffing"?
—High Linehan, "Bling-bling Bertie," The Irish Times, August 2, 2003

A reader named Mark from Santa Clara e-mailed to say, ''I used to embrace hip-hop music. I still like some of it, but all in all, it has managed to lose my attention, mostly because of the bling.''

I want to respond to these popular misconceptions.

Yes, a number of hip-hop hits do celebrate being rich and having an abundance of the things money can buy, but it's important to see these songs in their wider context.

Hip-hoppers didn't invent the glorification of materialism.

Many of today's popular TV shows, from ''Entertainment Tonight'' and ''Access Hollywood'' to practically anything on the E Channel, suggest we've become a bling-bling society. TV specials showcase the opulence of our favorite entertainers — Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Will Smith, etc. Newscasts report the price of diamonds and other jewelry worn by stars at popular award shows.
—Davey D, "Fixation on bling-bling isn't limited to hip-hop," San Jose Mercury News, August 8, 2003

Earliest Citation:
In English Turn, houses range from $ 300,000 to $ 3 million and belong mostly to doctors, lawyers and business owners. ...

The Williamses say they want to live in a gated community for the same reasons as most people: They want a nice place to raise a family, they want peace and quiet, and they don't want to be bothered.

But there's another reason. Like B.G.'s hit song says, it's about "Bling! Bling!" Li'l Wayne calls it "braggin' rights." A teenager whose gold teeth say "CASH MONEY," Wayne says he lives with Baby in English Turn just so he can say he does.
—Anne Rochell Konigsmark, "Rappers' latest project," The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, November 28, 1999

First Use:
Niggaz wear shades just to stand on side of me
Folks say take that chain off boy ya blindin me
All day my phone ringin bling bling bling
Can see my earring from a mile bling bling
—B.G., "Bling bling," Universal Records, April 20, 1999

Related Words:

Categories: