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 His parsimonious choice befitted a man for whom discipline in pursuit of victory is no vice and who jettisoned cargo-loads of ideological baggage to make his party an acceptable vehicle of protest. E.j. Dionne, Washington Post, 4 July 2024 The financial pressures of the toy industry forced Chung to be parsimonious. Patrick House, The New Yorker, 19 Mar. 2024 And sometimes the truest, most parsimonious explanation is just kind of boring. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, 11 Feb. 2024 That's probably why the recent program to observe the Crab emerged victorious in the stiff competition for JWST's precious observing time; the parsimonious prospect of solving two different mysteries with one set of observations is just the kind of thing scientists love. Phil Plait, Scientific American, 10 Nov. 2023 See all Example Sentences for parsimonious 

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 22 Jul. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on parsimonious

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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