par·​si·​mo·​ni·​ous ˌpär-sə-ˈmō-nē-əs How to pronounce parsimonious (audio)
: exhibiting or marked by parsimony
especially : frugal to the point of stinginess
parsimoniously adverb

Did you know?

English isn't stingy when it comes to synonyms of parsimonious. Stingy, close, penurious, and miserly are a few terms that, like parsimonious, suggest an unwillingness to share with others. Stingy implies a marked lack of generosity, whereas close suggests keeping a tight grip on one's money and possessions. Penurious implies frugality that gives an appearance of actual poverty, and miserly suggests avariciousness and a morbid pleasure in hoarding. Parsimonious usually suggests an extreme frugality that borders on stinginess.

Choose the Right Synonym for parsimonious

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 parsimonious in a Sentence

A society that is parsimonious in its personal charity (in terms of both time and money) will require more government welfare. William J. Bennett, The Death of Outrage, 1998
Their merchant princes were supposed to be parsimonious and austere: fustian in apparel and coarse in diet. Simon Schama, The Embarrassment of Riches, 1988
With saints, Dante is apathetic. They are written with a dry pen, and parsimonious vision. Robert Lowell, Collected Prose, 1987
a parsimonious woman who insists that charity begins—and ends—at home
Recent Examples on the Web Hers was a parsimonious approach, leaving a good inch or inch-and-a-half of outer crust untouched by any ingredient. Tim Carman, Washington Post, 16 Oct. 2023 In stripping down realism to a more parsimonious model, one in which the only truly important variable is power, Kirshner argues, the structural realists have gone too far, producing a theory of little value. Emma Ashford, Foreign Affairs, 6 Sep. 2022 There are so many similarities between humans and apes—including the tendency of females to exhibit empathy more readily than males—that the most parsimonious assumption is that the behavior in both species reflects the same mechanism, which may be as old as the mammals. Frans B. M. De Waal, Scientific American, 1 Sep. 2015 The more parsimonious conclusion is that the tactile sensation of the implant was enough to elicit exploration, but even then, the authors provide no evidence that implant exploration occurred more frequently in the presence of the mirror vs. without. Carl Zimmer, Discover Magazine, 11 Oct. 2010 Their ability to bash through any obstacle will become increasingly important as high interest rates, tightening credit, parsimonious venture capitalists, the latest banking crisis, and a slowing economy pound the tech sector. Scott Kirsner,, 14 May 2023 In comparison to the gleam of the crown, the contemporary suit is aesthetically parsimonious. Hazlitt, 12 May 2022 Packed with popular standard tech features and parsimonious with your gas money, the Rio is a good car at a great price. Car and Driver, 22 Feb. 2023 A century of visual language, knowledge, and connectivity is marching toward a narrow, parsimonious basement of nomenclature. Leanne Shapton, Curbed, 9 Sep. 2021 See More

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

Word History


parsimony + -ous

First Known Use

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of parsimonious was in 1598


Dictionary Entries Near parsimonious

Cite this Entry

“Parsimonious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

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