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[ek-uh-nom-i-kuh l, ee-kuh-] /ˌɛk əˈnɒm ɪ kəl, ˌi kə-/
avoiding waste or extravagance; thrifty:
an economical meal; an economical use of interior space.
Origin of economical
1570-80; economic + -al1
Related forms
noneconomical, adjective
noneconomically, adverb
preeconomical, adjective
preeconomically, adverb
pseudoeconomical, adjective
pseudoeconomically, adverb
quasi-economical, adjective
quasi-economically, adverb
uneconomical, adjective
uneconomically, adverb
1. saving, provident, sparing, parsimonious. Economical, thrifty, frugal imply careful and saving use of resources. Economical implies prudent planning in the disposition of resources so as to avoid unnecessary waste or expense: economical in budgeting household expenditures. Thrifty is a stronger word than economical, and adds to it the idea of industry and successful management: a thrifty shopper looking for bargains. Frugal emphasizes being saving, sometimes excessively saving, especially in such matters as food or dress: frugal almost to the point of being stingy.
1. wasteful, extravagant, spendthrift, prodigal, profligate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for economical
  • It is not generally realised that a large number of things enter into the economical use of gasoline.
  • It tends to be easier and more economical for library publishing programs that are understaffed.
  • Optimists say solar power could become as economical and efficient as fossil fuels.
  • Learn simple and economical steps to become more environmentally responsible.
  • Starting crops from seed is a satisfying and economical way to grow your own plants, flowers, and veggies.
  • Small, high-tech workshops close to home would be flexible, economical and convenient.
  • People tend to link political liberty with economical freedom.
  • Health officials have a strong need for vaccines that are both economical and easily administered.
  • Now that economical and powerful microprocessors are available, the technology is spreading.
  • The mantle headboard frame was created using pieces of foam trim, an economical alternative to purchasing a wood mantle.
British Dictionary definitions for economical


/ˌiːkəˈnɒmɪkəl; ˌɛkə-/
using the minimum required; not wasteful of time, effort, resources, etc: an economical car, an economical style
frugal; thrifty: she was economical by nature
a variant of economic (sense 1), economic (sense 2), economic (sense 3), economic (sense 4)
(euphemistic) deliberately withholding information (esp in the phrase economical with the truth)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for economical

1570s, "pertaining to household management; from economic + -al (1). Meaning "pertaining to political economy" is from 1781; that of "thrifty" is from 1780. Related: Economically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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