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The Wildly Variable Definition of 'McMansion'

According to a new study, people in different places use the word very differently.
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Though it was coined in the 80s, the term "McMansion" didn't really catch on until the late 1990s. It took hold – arguably by descriptive necessity – because significantly larger homes were popping up in subdivisions and gated communities around the country. The average home size grew from 1,500 square feet in 1970 to more than 2,000 in 1990, eventually peaking at 2,521 in 2007.

As homes grew, many, many journalists, commentators, pundits, and critics began to characterize them with this new epithet, a jab at what many see as a tacky or overly-consumerist style. But it turns out that the people using the term didn't really have a good idea about what, precisely, it meant.