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[ih-kon-uh-mee] /ɪˈkɒn ə mi/
noun, plural economies.
thrifty management; frugality in the expenditure or consumption of money, materials, etc.
an act or means of thrifty saving; a saving:
He achieved a small economy by walking to work instead of taking a bus.
the management of the resources of a community, country, etc., especially with a view to its productivity.
the prosperity or earnings of a place:
Further inflation would endanger the national economy seriously.
the disposition or regulation of the parts or functions of any organic whole; an organized system or method.
the efficient, sparing, or concise use of something:
an economy of effort; an economy of movement.
  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.
Obsolete. the management of household affairs.
intended to save money:
to reduce the staff in an economy move.
costing less to make, buy, or operate:
an economy car.
of or relating to economy class:
the economy fare to San Francisco.
in economy-class accommodations, or by economy-class conveyance:
to travel economy.
Origin of economy
1520-30; (< Middle French economie) < Latin oeconomia < Greek oikonomíā household management, equivalent to oîko(s) house + -nomia -nomy
Related forms
noneconomy, noun, plural noneconomies.
subeconomy, noun, plural subeconomies.
supereconomy, noun, plural supereconomies.
1. thriftiness, thrift, saving.
1. lavishness, extravagance, wastefulness. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for economy
  • Cutting government spending and raising taxes reduces the amount of demand in the economy, which makes the recession worse.
  • You underestimate the organic nature of a capitalist economy.
  • Sugar, rum, and molasses became the island's main economy.
  • The economy is rebounding, but not the job market.
  • The economy is not far from anyone's mind.
  • As you might imagine, talk turned to the economy.
  • Fuel economy, or the lack of it, has become the magnificent obsession of the American motorist.
  • The Reagan economy was a one-hit wonder.
  • It was planned in the summer of 2008 before the economy fell apart.
  • The economy delivered some good news for a change Thursday.
British Dictionary definitions for economy


noun (pl) -mies
careful management of resources to avoid unnecessary expenditure or waste; thrift
a means or instance of this; saving
sparing, restrained, or efficient use, esp to achieve the maximum effect for the minimum effort: economy 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 consumption: a socialist economy, an agricultural economy
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
(modifier) offering or purporting to offer a larger quantity for a lower price: economy pack
the orderly interplay between the parts of a system or structure: the economy of nature
(philosophy) the principle that, of two competing theories, the one with less ontological presupposition is to be preferred
(archaic) the management of household affairs; domestic economy
Word Origin
C16: via Latin from Greek oikonomia domestic management, from oikos house + -nomia, from nemein to manage
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 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.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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