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Shock or disappointment upon discovering that something costs much more than one expected or imagined. The "sticker" refers to the price tag. It was my first time ever having to replace a boiler, so I had quite the sticker shock when I learned how much a brand-new one would cost. My dad said he would buy me a car for my birthday, but I think he got a bit of sticker shock when we went down to the dealership.
n. a car or other vehicle following too closely on one’s bumper. (A reapplication of the term for a kind of adhesive sign stuck on a car bumber.) I can’t talk now, I’ve got a bumper sticker that’s taking all my attention.
n. the shock at seeing just how much something new, usually an automobile, costs as determined by looking at the price tag or sticker. I went to a car dealer today, and I am still suffering from sticker shock.
Surprise at the high cost of an item. The term originated in the 1970s when government regulations substantially increased the cost of automobiles. It was soon transferred to any item or service regarded as unusually expensive. For example, “I had a case of sticker shock when I learned the annual cost of club membership exceeded $1,000.”