mi·​ser·​ly ˈmī-zər-lē How to pronounce miserly (audio)
: of, relating to, or characteristic of a miser
especially : marked by grasping meanness and penuriousness
The team's miserly owner refused to buy new equipment.
miserliness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for miserly

stingy, close, niggardly, parsimonious, penurious, miserly mean being unwilling or showing unwillingness to share with others.

stingy implies a marked lack of generosity.

a stingy child, not given to sharing

close suggests keeping a tight grip on one's money and possessions.

folks who are very close when charity calls

niggardly implies giving or spending the very smallest amount possible.

the niggardly amount budgeted for the town library

parsimonious suggests a frugality so extreme as to lead to stinginess.

a parsimonious lifestyle notably lacking in luxuries

penurious implies niggardliness that gives an appearance of actual poverty.

the penurious eccentric bequeathed a fortune

miserly suggests a sordid avariciousness and a morbid pleasure in hoarding.

a miserly couple devoid of social conscience

Examples of miserly in a Sentence

He was given a miserly raise. my brother, who is notoriously miserly, surprised us when he offered to pick up the tab
Recent Examples on the Web Coordinator Jesse Minter’s unit allowed 288 yards on 66 plays, a miserly average of 4.3 yards per play. Dan Greenspan, USA TODAY, 2 Jan. 2024 Laurie’s self-care was miserly but her affection for chosen friends was reckless and extravagant. A.l. Bardach, The Hollywood Reporter, 29 Dec. 2023 Even then, Wilson fixated on the thematic potency of dreaming about one’s own death, as the miserly Scrooge does when he’s haunted by three ghosts in the early morning hours on Christmas. Thomas Floyd, Washington Post, 19 Dec. 2023 Then, as president, Trump made not the slightest effort to raise the minimum wage, which remains the same miserly $7.25 an hour. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 19 Sep. 2023 Opt for the miserly gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain and the Camry returns up to 52 mpg combined, per the EPA. Nicholas Wallace, Car and Driver, 21 Mar. 2023 But such is Lauren’s global influence that labeling him merely an American fashion designer feels miserly. Paul Croughton, Robb Report, 4 Oct. 2023 Before the Indian league transformed the finances of the sport, professionals generally played domestic cricket in their own country, often on miserly wages. Ed Caesar, The New Yorker, 24 July 2023 Using a miserly one gallon per flush, the VorMax is among the most water-efficient toilets on the market, without any sacrifice in flushing power of both solid and liquid waste, based on our testing. Dan Diclerico, Good Housekeeping, 17 May 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1593, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of miserly was in 1593

Dictionary Entries Near miserly

Cite this Entry

“Miserly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/miserly. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


mi·​ser·​ly ˈmī-zər-lē How to pronounce miserly (audio)
: of, relating to, or characteristic of a miser
miserliness noun

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