econ·​o·​my | \ i-ˈkä-nə-mē How to pronounce economy (audio) , 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

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Examples of economy in a Sentence

Noun 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Some other governments have simply declared victory and are opening up their economies again. The Economist, "Bello Latin America’s economic plight is getting worse," 23 May 2020 Generally, the smaller the engine, the better the fuel economy. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, "How to Buy the Pickup Truck That Best Fits Your Lifestyle and Your Budget," 23 May 2020 The presenters: Become a member to keep reading this story and the rest of our expert analyses on the changing global economy. Heather Landy, Quartz at Work, "Watch: Quartz’s workshop on remote communication," 23 May 2020 Another obstacle to teasing out what is happening in the data is that states have opened their economies in different ways. David Hogberg, Washington Examiner, "Analysis: States that reopened earlier haven't seen higher rates of infection," 22 May 2020 The United States, of course, is running massive budget deficits as part of our attempt to stimulate our economy and limit the financial damage that is inflicting on our people, businesses and institutions. Allan Sloan, Washington Post, "Trump’s demonization of China puts U.S. in financial peril," 22 May 2020 The pace of the filings, down from nearly 2.7 million the previous week, has slowed as states begin gradually reopening their economies after weeks of stay-at-home orders. Harold Maass, TheWeek, "The daily business briefing: May 22, 2020," 22 May 2020 All 50 states have now begun reopening, working to revive their economies after months of shutdowns designed to curb the coronavirus pandemic. Jessica Wang, WSJ, "Coronavirus Case Counts in 50 States Indicate Vast Differences," 22 May 2020 Even though economies are gradually starting to open up again, COVID-19 is still effecting our usual way of life, including healthcare. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "Is Your Vaginal Health Suffering In Quarantine? OB-GYN Dr. Tosha Rogers Weighs In," 22 May 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for economy

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for economy

Last Updated

26 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Economy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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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


How to pronounce economy (audio)

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 How to pronounce economy (audio) \
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.

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econ·​o·​my | \ i-ˈkän-ə-mē How to pronounce economy (audio) \
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

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Comments on economy

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