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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for economy

Synonyms: Noun

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

Antonyms: Noun


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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Students who graduate high school must be given the tools to succeed in a changing economy. Amy Chance, sacbee, "'Not all machines are evil,' and other thoughts on California's changing economy," 2 July 2018 But in the past, Republican leaders have pointed to improvements in the economy as the best predictor of higher living standards. Catherine Marfin, San Antonio Express-News, "Study: Texas ranks 43rd in child well-being," 26 June 2018 How could these two different types of jobs exist in the same economy? Alana Semuels, The Atlantic, "I Delivered Packages for Amazon and It Was a Nightmare," 25 June 2018 With a land mass about as big as France and Germany combined, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country (with perhaps 180m people) and its biggest economy. The Economist, "The fight against Islamic State is moving to Africa," 14 July 2018 On Wednesday, Trump roiled the summit by calling on NATO members to more than double their military budgets, suggesting a new benchmark that would have them devote 4 percent of their economy to defense. Calvin Woodward And Hope Yen,, "Trump is in Europe and the truth is not with him: A fact check," 14 July 2018 Burnout fleeces our economy for over $300 billion annually in absenteeism, job turnover, lost productivity and medical claims. Philip Chard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Burnout reflects a conflict between our inner calling and what we have to do," 13 July 2018 Bringing in the right talent from outside could help jump start their economies. Ilene Bassler, Houston Chronicle, "Q&A: Strict immigration policies ripple through talent pool," 12 July 2018 But Trump’s scandals, and a steadily improving economy, have more recently diverted attention from the issue. Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, "Win a Game Show, Pay Off Your Student Debt," 12 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.

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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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Statistics for economy

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for economy

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

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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



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.

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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

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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).


one that holds something together

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