econ·​o·​my | \i-ˈkä-nə-mē, ə-, ē-\
plural economies

Definition of economy 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the structure or conditions of economic life in a country, area, or period also : an economic system

2a : thrifty and efficient use of material resources : frugality in expenditures also : an instance or a means of economizing : saving

b : efficient and concise use of nonmaterial resources (such as effort, language, or motion)

3a : the arrangement or mode of operation of something : organization

b : a system especially of interaction and exchange an economy of information

4 archaic : the management of household or private affairs and especially expenses



Definition of economy (Entry 2 of 2)

: designed to save money economy cars

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for economy

Synonyms: Noun

frugality, husbandry, parsimony, penny-pinching, providence, scrimping, skimping, thrift

Antonyms: Noun


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of economy in a Sentence


The war altered the country's economy. An increase in tourism will help the city's economy. We must learn to practice economy. We'll also benefit from the economies provided by more efficient energy sources. It would be false economy to repair the leak without replacing the pipe.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

However, quantum mechanics paved the way for today’s economy with its dependence on computer chips. Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Blazing a trail: UW professor's dream leads to breakthrough in identifying origin of cosmic rays," 12 July 2018 All of this would be excellent news for the economy, but also for those workers who were stung by the recent tax reform’s limit on state and local deductions but might now see some alternate tax relief. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "Trump Alone Can Cut Taxes," 12 July 2018 In January, in anticipation of the 2018 Final Four, Nirenberg said at a media event that the tournament is a boon for the local economy with a $135 million economic impact. Josh Baugh, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio delegation seeks a return of the NCAA’s Final Four tournament," 11 July 2018 And while the latest round of tax cuts is supposed to boost the economy, that’s not guaranteed to happen. Emily Stewart, Vox, "America’s getting $10 trillion in tax cuts, and 20% of them are going the richest 1%," 11 July 2018 The last time a trade war happened in the U.S., things didn't go well for the economy. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "U.S. trade war with China, other countries: Layoffs, reduced hours, thinner profits," 6 July 2018 The center will focus on preparing the city and its business for the future economy by using data collection and analysis to improve their efficiency. Post-Tribune, "State briefs," 3 July 2018 Image Their arrival provides a welcome fillip for the British economy that’s expected to be bruised by its departure from the European Union. New York Times, "Silicon Valley’s Giants Take Their Talent Hunt to Cambridge," 3 July 2018 Today, the monument is the most popular National Park Service site in New Mexico, drawing more than half a million annual visitors and generating $29.3 million for the local economy, according to Heinrich’s office. Hayden Carpenter, Outside Online, "Our Next National Park Could Be in New Mexico," 3 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'economy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of economy


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4


1821, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for economy


Middle French yconomie, from Medieval Latin oeconomia, from Greek oikonomia, from oikonomos household manager, from oikos house + nemein to manage — more at vicinity, nimble

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about economy

Statistics for economy

Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for economy

The first known use of economy was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for economy



Financial Definition of economy

What It Is

In its broadest sense, the economy is the organized system of human activity involved in the production, consumption, exchange, and distribution of goods and services.

How It Works

Derived from the Greek word oikonomos, meaning "one who manages a household," economy was not used in the modern sense of the economic system of a country or area until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Economy also refers to the way in which resources, especially those in shortage, are managed in a competent and appropriate manner.

For example, the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century can probably be considered as the first time in history that goods and services were mass produced for wider consumption.

Why It Matters

Economy is important not only because of its implications for human production and activity, but also because it has engendered one of the most studied of all disciplines: economics.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of economy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the process or system by which goods and services are produced, sold, and bought in a country or region

: careful use of money, resources, etc.

: something that makes it possible for you to spend less money



English Language Learners Definition of economy (Entry 2 of 2)

: designed to cost less money


econ·​o·​my | \i-ˈkä-nə-mē \
plural economies

Kids Definition of economy

1 : the way in which goods and services are made, sold, and used in a country or area the city's economy

2 : the careful use of money and goods : thrift With economy and restraint, they managed to live on their small income.

Keep scrolling for more


econ·​o·​my | \i-ˈkän-ə-mē \
plural economies

Medical Definition of economy 

1 : the system of operation of the processes of anabolism and catabolism in living bodies the economy of the cell

2 : the body of an animal or plant as an organized whole disorganizing wide segments of the body economy— Leonard Engel

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on economy

What made you want to look up economy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!