Written By
Paul Tracy
Updated June 12, 2021

What is a McMansion?

A McMansion is a derogatory slang term for a fancy house that looks like all the other houses in the neighborhood or region.

How Does a McMansion Work?

Let's say John and Jane Doe buy a house in McMinnville. The house has five bedrooms, four baths, a pool and 5,000 square feet of living space. It's beautiful, to be sure. However, it is virtually identical to the rest of the houses on the street or is one of five "versions" that the developer approved for the neighborhood when it was built.

Why Does a McMansion Matter?

This term is a play on the word "McDonalds," which is a global fast-food restaurant chain whose food is usually so consistent that an item from one restaurant is indistinguishable from the same item made in another restaurant. In turn, McMansion implies that a home is fancy but has a generic, mass-produced quality about it. Often, McMansions are found in outlying suburbs and are subject to criticism because these suburbs do not have trendy downtown areas and require longer commutes to work.

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