Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Careful, thrifty management of resources, such as money, materials, or labor.
  • noun An example or result of such management; a saving.
  • noun The system or range of economic activity in a country, region, or community.
  • noun A specific type of economic system.
  • noun An orderly, functional arrangement of parts; an organized system.
  • noun Efficient, sparing, or conservative use.
  • noun The least expensive class of accommodations, especially on a commercial conveyance, such as an airplane.
  • noun Theology The method of God's government of and activity within the world.
  • adjective Economical or inexpensive to buy or use.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In theology: The practical measures employed in giving effect to a divine dispensation.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun The functional organization of a living body: as, his internal economy is badly deranged.
  • noun The regulation and disposition of the internal affairs of a state or nation, or of any department of government.
  • noun Management; control.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun See economy.
  • noun The management of domestic affairs; the regulation and government of household matters; especially as they concern expense or disbursement.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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
  • noun Thrifty and frugal housekeeping; management without loss or waste; frugality in expenditure; prudence and disposition to save.
  • noun See under Political.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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

Etymologies

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; see weik- in Indo-European roots + nemein, to allot, manage; see nem- in Indo-European roots.]

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.

Examples

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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