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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun So what might cause an economy with such a healthy labor market to suffer a recession? The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 May 2022 Now, with an economy stretched by the global pandemic and jostled by war, the once largely immune tech industry may have found its match. Washington Post, 10 May 2022 West Coast dockworkers and cargo-handling companies are due this week to begin contract negotiations that carry high stakes for an American economy that has been wracked by supply-chain disruptions. Paul Berger, WSJ, 8 May 2022 The change is welcomed by critics who argue that students were locked out of an economy fueled by their labor. Shaan Rais, Forbes, 6 May 2022 Founder Rosedale said Second Life has an economy of $650 million a year, but the average transaction is $2. Musadiq Bidar, CBS News, 6 May 2022 The state had increasingly become an outpost economy, with a rapidly growing and highly educated workforce serving large corporations based elsewhere. oregonlive, 6 May 2022 Optimists, including many at the Fed, point out that this is an unusual economy. New York Times, 4 May 2022 Inflation has been a scourge on an economy that appears strong by several other measures. Rachel Siegel, Anchorage Daily News, 4 May 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About economy

Time Traveler for economy

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near economy



economy coil

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for economy

Last Updated

13 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Economy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for economy


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.


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

More from Merriam-Webster on economy

Nglish: Translation of economy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of economy for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about economy


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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