from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Careful, thrifty management of resources, such as money, materials, or labor: learned to practice economy in making out the household budget.
  • n. An example or result of such management; a saving.
  • n. The system or range of economic activity in a country, region, or community: Effects of inflation were felt at every level of the economy.
  • n. A specific type of economic system: an industrial economy; a planned economy.
  • n. An orderly, functional arrangement of parts; an organized system: "the sense that there is a moral economy in the world, that good is rewarded and evil is punished” ( George F. Will).
  • n. Efficient, sparing, or conservative use: wrote with an economy of language.
  • n. The least expensive class of accommodations, especially on an airplane.
  • n. Theology The method of God's government of and activity within the world.
  • adj. Economical or inexpensive to buy or use: an economy car; an economy motel.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Effective management of the resources of a community or system.
  • n. Collective focus of the study of money, currency and trade, and the efficient use of resources.
  • n. Frugal use of resources.
  • n. The system of production and distribution and consumption. The overall measure of a currency system; as the national economy.
  • n. The method of divine government of the world.
  • n. Management of one’s residency.
  • adj. Cheap to run; using minimal resources; representing good value for money.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The management of domestic affairs; the regulation and government of household matters; especially as they concern expense or disbursement.
  • n. Orderly arrangement and management of the internal affairs of a state or of any establishment kept up by production and consumption; esp., such management as directly concerns wealth.
  • n. The system of rules and regulations by which anything is managed; orderly system of regulating the distribution and uses of parts, conceived as the result of wise and economical adaptation in the author, whether human or divine
  • n. Thrifty and frugal housekeeping; management without loss or waste; frugality in expenditure; prudence and disposition to save.
  • n. See economy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The management, regulation, or supervision of means or resources; especially, the management of the pecuniary or other concerns of a household: as, you are practising bad economy; their domestic economy needs reform.
  • n. Hence A frugal and judicious use of money, material, time, etc.; the avoidance of or freedom from waste or extravagance in the management or use of anything; frugality in the expenditure or consumption of money, materials, etc.
  • n. Management, order, or arrangement in general; the disposition or regulation of the parts or functions of any organic whole; an organized system or method: as, the internal economy of a nation; the economy of the work is out of joint.
  • n. Specifically— The provisions of nature for the generation, nutrition, and preservation of animals and plants; the regular, harmonious system in accordance with which the functions of living animals and plants are performed: as, the animal economy; the vegetable economy.
  • n. The functional organization of a living body: as, his internal economy is badly deranged.
  • n. The regulation and disposition of the internal affairs of a state or nation, or of any department of government.
  • n. Management; control.
  • n. In theology: The practical measures employed in giving effect to a divine dispensation.
  • n. The cautious presentation of doctrine, accommodating it to the feelings and prejudices of the hearers: used by J. H. Newman to describe the accommodated method (κατ)οἰκονομίαν) of the early fathers; in a bad sense, the system of withholding a large portion of gospel doctrine in teaching the mass of Christians.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the efficient use of resources
  • n. frugality in the expenditure of money or resources
  • n. the system of production and distribution and consumption
  • n. an act of economizing; reduction in cost


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English yconomye, management of a household, from Latin oeconomia, from Greek oikonomiā, from oikonomos, manager of a household : oikos, house, + nemein, to allot, manage.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin oeconomia, from Ancient Greek οἰκονομία (oikonomia, "management of a household, administration"), from οἶκος (oikos, "house") + νόμος (nomos, "law") (surface analysis eco- + -nomy). The first recorded sense of the word economy, found in a work possibly composed in 1440, is “the management of economic affairs”, in this case, of a monastery.



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  • The idea was that when faced with abundance one should consume abundantly—an idea that has survived to become the basis of our present economy. Wendell Berry "A Native Hill"

    July 19, 2008