eco·​nom·​i·​cal ˌe-kə-ˈnä-mi-kəl How to pronounce economical (audio)
: marked by careful, efficient, and prudent use of resources : thrifty
an economical shopper
: operating with little waste or at a saving
an economical car
archaic : economic sense 5
Choose the Right Synonym for economical

sparing, frugal, thrifty, economical mean careful in the use of one's money or resources.

sparing stresses abstention and restraint.

sparing in the offering of advice

frugal implies absence of luxury and simplicity of lifestyle.

ran a frugal household

thrifty stresses good management and industry.

thrifty use of nonrenewable resources

economical stresses prudent management, lack of wastefulness, and use of things to their best advantage.

an economical health-care plan

Examples of economical in a Sentence

an economical way to heat your house a practical and economical solution to the problem
Recent Examples on the Web However, the pumps used for reverse osmosis desalination require immense amounts of electricity—which raises questions on how to ensure this process is completed in an economical and energy-efficient way. IEEE Spectrum, 4 Dec. 2023 At the destructive end of existence, Scott is no less economical. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 22 Nov. 2023 In this configuration, the work lives up to its promise as Nas traverses his life from birth to death across an economical 13 tracks. Ron Hart, SPIN, 22 Nov. 2023 Hacks, apps, and switches to make your escapades more enriching, enlightening, and economical. Juliet Kinsman, Condé Nast Traveler, 22 Nov. 2023 Keep in Mind These disposable pads are not the most eco-friendly or economical option. Kelsey Mulvey, Better Homes & Gardens, 21 Nov. 2023 In today’s market, buying new—rather than an existing property—might be an economical choice, too. Aly J. Yale,, 19 Nov. 2023 Commercials trained Scott in economical storytelling, conjuring atmosphere, delivering on time and on budget, and making lots of money doing so. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, 6 Nov. 2023 Another fun and economical option is to sign up for a weekly local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box. Jennifer Chesak, Better Homes & Gardens, 6 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'economical.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Medieval Latin oeconomicus "relating to domestic affairs, economic" + -al entry 1

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of economical was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near economical

Cite this Entry

“Economical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: using resources with care and without waste
: operating with little waste or at a savings
an economical car

More from Merriam-Webster on economical

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