A large, opulent house, especially a new house that has a size and style that doesn't fit in with the surrounding houses.
Example Citation:
In a world of bloated S.U.V.'s and rambling McMansions, there are times when smaller is better.
— Steven E. Brier, "Nikon's New Digital Camera Fits Easily in a Pocket," The New York Times, August 16, 2001
Earliest Citation:
In this dehumanizing, auto-dominated, market-research-driven age of faltering standards of service and aesthetics, our urban and suburban landscapes are becoming more homogenized and worse.
What character their history and ecology might offer is being strip-mined to make way for anonymous residential projects, monolithic office towers, climate-controlled retail complexes of questionable design and awkward transportation systems — all in the abused name of progress.
We are talking here of the march of mini-malls and 'McMansions.'
— Sam Hall Kaplan, "Search for Environmental View of Design," The Los Angeles Times, July 17, 1990
The word McMansion has only been a part of the lexicon for a little over ten years, but it has already undergone a fairly significant change in meaning. In fact, the word's current meaning seems to be almost the opposite of its original sense. As the earliest citation shows, McMansion used to mean something similar to cookie-cutter house (that is, a house that has a bland style that's identical to all the nearby houses). This fits nicely with the formation of the word, which is McDonalds (the fast-food chain) + mansion. After all, what could be more bland and "cookie cutter" than the fare served by McDonalds?
Related Words: Category:
Here's an earlier citation, from the Sunday Age in Melbourne.
Pub: The Sunday Age
Pubdate: Sunday 07th of March 1999
Edition: Late
Section: News
Subsection: Spy
Page: 28
Wordcount: 1590
The pauper's mansion
THEY do bankruptcy so very stylishly in Brighton. The drivers of Mercs and Beemers have been slowing down to gaze at a newly completed faux Tuscan Mcmansion - complete with Renaissance-style murals - in Male Street, only one door down from the fashionable Church Street shopping strip. A former panel beater's garage, it has been specially renovated, Spy's bayside snout reports, in order to house a car collection associated with the Rolls-Royce driving property developer and well-known Brighton identity Bruce Terry. Mr Terry and his wife were bankrupted last year after the Pyramid Building Society liquidator won a landmark High Court battle over the small matter of the repayment of a $1.3 million loan to the company, Something Better Ltd, for which the couple were guarantors. We expect the developer has had to curb his enthusiastic bidding at furniture auctions - no more driving home with $22,000 "Louis Farouk" style parquetry inlaid and ormoulu-mounted bureaus shoved in the boot of his bright red Roller. But the Terrys still appear to be doing a rather admirable job of keeping up their lavish lifestyle in their antique-filled beachside mansion. Just how do they cope, Spy has been wondering. The Federal Court-appointed trustee is also dying to know Mr Terry's budgeting secrets. He's so curious, in fact, that he's armed himself with Section 81 of the Bankruptcy Act and has arranged to have the Terrys summonsed to the court next month, so he can get them to explain just how they manage. Could be a good place for low-income earners to pick up some household management tips.

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