noun, plural e·con·o·mies.

  1. thrifty management; frugality in the expenditure or consumption of money, materials, etc.
  2. an act or means of thrifty saving; a saving: He achieved a small economy by walking to work instead of taking a bus.
  3. the management of the resources of a community, country, etc., especially with a view to its productivity.
  4. the prosperity or earnings of a place: Further inflation would endanger the national economy seriously.
  5. the disposition or regulation of the parts or functions of any organic whole; an organized system or method.
  6. the efficient, sparing, or concise use of something: an economy of effort; an economy of movement.
  7. economy class.
  8. Theology.
    1. the divine plan for humanity, from creation through redemption to final beatitude.
    2. the method of divine administration, as at a particular time or for a particular race.
  9. Obsolete. the management of household affairs.


  1. intended to save money: to reduce the staff in an economy move.
  2. costing less to make, buy, or operate: an economy car.
  3. of or relating to economy class: the economy fare to San Francisco.


  1. in economy-class accommodations, or by economy-class conveyance: to travel economy.

noun plural -mies

  1. careful management of resources to avoid unnecessary expenditure or waste; thrift
  2. a means or instance of this; saving
  3. sparing, restrained, or efficient use, esp to achieve the maximum effect for the minimum efforteconomy of language
    1. the complex of human activities concerned with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services
    2. a particular type or branch of such production, distribution, and consumptiona socialist economy; an agricultural economy
  4. the management of the resources, finances, income, and expenditure of a community, business enterprise, etc
    1. a class of travel in aircraft, providing less luxurious accommodation than first class at a lower fare
    2. (as modifier)economy class
  5. (modifier) offering or purporting to offer a larger quantity for a lower priceeconomy pack
  6. the orderly interplay between the parts of a system or structurethe economy of nature
  7. philosophy the principle that, of two competing theories, the one with less ontological presupposition is to be preferred
  8. archaic the management of household affairs; domestic economy

1530s, “household management,” from Latin oeconomia, from Greek oikonomia “household management, thrift,” from oikonomos “manager, steward,” from oikos “house” (cognate with Latin vicus “district,” vicinus “near;” Old English wic “dwelling, village;” see villa) + nomos “managing,” from nemein “manage” (see numismatics). The sense of “wealth and resources of a country” (short for political economy) is from 1650s.


as a term in advertising, at first meant simply “cheaper” (1821), then “bigger and thus cheaper per unit or amount” (1950). See economy (n.).

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