par·​si·​mo·​ny ˈpär-sə-ˌmō-nē How to pronounce parsimony (audio)
: the quality of being careful with money or resources : thrift
the necessity of wartime parsimony
: the quality or state of being stingy
The charity was surprised by the parsimony of some larger corporations.
: economy in the use of means to an end
especially : economy of explanation in conformity with Occam's razor
the scientific law of parsimony dictates that any example of animal behavior should be interpreted at its simplest, most immediate level Peter Gorner

Examples of parsimony in a Sentence

The charity was surprised by the parsimony of some larger corporations. her parsimony was so extreme that she'd walk five miles to the store to save a few cents on gas
Recent Examples on the Web But the Senate’s parsimony on these issues was praised by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, a think tank that advocates for racial and economic justice. Larry Edelman,, 9 June 2023 Given the exorbitant gasoline prices in most European countries, such parsimony is a vital part of the appeal. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, 26 May 2023 One of the beauties of Out of Africa was its elegant parsimony; extraordinary claims were easily dismissed and ignored. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 29 Dec. 2010 Here's where the author explains the philosophy behind the statistical technique: When choosing among several competing scientific models, two opposing factors must be taken into account: the goodness of fit and parsimony. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 13 May 2010 His record in the Premier League, in particular, in recent years has been built as much on defensive parsimony as attacking threat. New York Times, 13 Apr. 2022 At the conference this year, delegates from developing countries said this parsimony had undermined their trust in the U.N. process. Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor, 19 Nov. 2021 The likely answer is that what’s true today has always been true: parsimony is the surest path to wealth. John Tamny, Forbes, 13 Oct. 2021 Perhaps there is some megolamania in Diller’s act of philanthropy, but philanthropy still serves us better than selfish parsimony or profligate self-indulgence. Washington Post, 5 Aug. 2021

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

Word History


Middle English parcimony, borrowed from Latin parsimōnia, from pars-, perfect stem of parcere "to act sparingly, be thrifty (with), refrain from" (of uncertain origin) + -i- -i- + -mōnia, suffix of abstract nouns (going back to the Indo-European noun-forming suffix *-mĕ̄n-/*mŏ̄n- + the abstract noun formative *-i-)

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of parsimony was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near parsimony

Cite this Entry

“Parsimony.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


par·​si·​mo·​ny ˈpär-sə-ˌmō-nē How to pronounce parsimony (audio)
: the quality of being overly sparing with money : miserliness
parsimoniously adverb
parsimoniousness noun

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