1 of 2


plural thrifts
: careful management especially of money
: a savings bank or savings and loan association

called also thrift institution

: healthy and vigorous growth
chiefly Scotland : gainful occupation
: any of a genus (Armeria) of low-growing perennial evergreen herbs of the plumbago family
especially : a tufted herb (A. maritima) with pink or white flower heads


2 of 2


thrifted; thrifting; thrifts

transitive + intransitive

: to shop for or buy used goods especially at a store that specializes in secondhand merchandise
''My theory is whether you have the money to pay full price or not, why wouldn't you want to get more bang for your fashion buck?'' said Quincy Colman, 41, an habitué of Goodwill, who started thrifting when she was a teenager.Patrice J. Williams
"Gen-Z is also very much interested in secondhand shopping. It is intentional and cool to thrift now, whereas in the 1960s and 1970s it was considered counterculture."Allison Pfingst
"But I didn't end up buying the hot $200 dress. … Instead, I thrifted a jumpsuit."Laura McMullen

Examples of thrift in a Sentence

Noun Through hard work and thrift they sent all of their children to college. through hard work and thrift our father was able to raise the money to put all four of us through college
Recent Examples on the Web
Those who shop at the thrift stores benefit from lower cost items. Vanessa Infanzon, Charlotte Observer, 1 Feb. 2024 According to Koenen, the exchange fills a vacuum for things thrift stores such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army won’t or can’t accept. Chicago Tribune, Orange County Register, 1 Feb. 2024 The Found Footage Festival is a celebration of the videos that time forgot, discovered in dusty thrift stores and estate sales throughout North America. Luann Gibbs, The Enquirer, 17 Jan. 2024 The exhibit, which will feature an interactive reptile zoo in a 25,000-square-foot former thrift store, hopes to open by March, according to the The Reptarium's website. Anthony Robledo, USA TODAY, 16 Jan. 2024 Kimmy DeSimone, a Charlotte mom, almost exclusively shops at thrift stores for herself and two boys. Vanessa Infanzon, Charlotte Observer, 1 Feb. 2024 Silver chests Silver chests often end up in thrift stores and garage sales because people don’t often store flatware away anymore. Clare Miers, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 31 Jan. 2024 Clothes-shopping in the area once meant a trip to thrift stores like Domsey’s Warehouse Outlet, Beacon’s Closet or Buffalo Exchange. New York Times, 29 Jan. 2024 Instead, grab a lightweight pot with a lid from the thrift store. Cindy Dampier, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024
Not every bride would thrift a dress for their wedding, but Monica Sallay aka @sartorialscraps had unintentionally bought her wedding dress second-hand a decade before she actually got married. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, 13 July 2021 Over the last 10 weeks, as COVID-19 left thrift stores across the world no choice but to shutter their doors, vintage enthusiasts have been forced to discover ways to thrift online. Eliza Huber,, 22 May 2020 The analysis of Gen Z emphasized that consumers want to thrift more. Sharon Edelson, Forbes, 25 Aug. 2022 TikTok followers on her journey to thrift the perfect dress. Ebony Williams, ajc, 5 July 2022 Here's how to thrift like a pro in Houston — and some stellar store suggestions to help you get started. Rose Bruno Bailey, Chron, 1 Dec. 2021 Although Daman didn’t thrift any of the costumes on the original Gossip Girl, the reboot is full of items from online resale sites like thredUP, The Real Real, and Depop. Frances Solá-Santiago,, 15 July 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'thrift.' 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, from Old Norse, prosperity, from thrīfask to thrive


derivative of thrift entry 1 (from its attributive use in thrift shop)

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3


1983, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of thrift was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near thrift

Cite this Entry

“Thrift.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


: careful management especially of money

Legal Definition


: an institution that promotes saving and provides mortgages
especially : savings and loan association

called also thrift institution

More from Merriam-Webster on thrift

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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