\ ˈthrift \

Definition of thrift

1 : careful management especially of money
2 : a savings bank or savings and loan association

called also thrift institution

3 : healthy and vigorous growth
4 chiefly Scotland : gainful occupation
5 : 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

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Examples of thrift in a Sentence

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

My winter coats come from thrift stores and are all missing buttons or linings, and one of my favorite pairs of boots is currently supported by gaffer tape. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "I used all the best stuff for a week and it nearly broke me," 12 Dec. 2018 In Boston, Williams grew tired of ogling local Instagrammers who seemed to be living her best life: sipping lattes at cute coffee shops, shopping at cute thrift stores, reading cute books. Maggie Bullock, Marie Claire, "Where Did All My Girlfriends Go?," 10 Dec. 2018 Photo: Joe Parkinson/The Wall Street Journal For African nations, incentives range from thrift to geopolitics, say defense analysts and government officials. Joe Parkinson, WSJ, "Never Take Their Photos: Tracking the Commandos, North Korea’s Secret Export," 9 Dec. 2018 Of late, the music industry has flirted with the idea of thrift, but Drake is a showman with a distaste for restraint: Scorpion, his fifth solo effort, embraces immoderation, a two-disc, 25-track affair that runs an obnoxious 90 minutes in full. Jason Parham, WIRED, "With Scorpion, #DrakeSZN Is Back—as Overwrought as Ever," 2 July 2018 Aides described these measures as a way to free up money for social programs but also to present to the working-class poor — the backbone of his political support — an image of thrift. Joshua Partlow, Washington Post, "If he becomes president, this man will turn Mexico’s White House into a public park," 4 June 2018 Bloom is far from the first person to discreetly cultivate riches while living a life of apparent thrift. Daniel Arkin /, NBC News, "Sylvia Bloom, a frugal secretary, hid a $9M fortune. She joins a list of secret millionaires.," 7 May 2018 The online resale market is booming, with the Real Real, Tradesy, Poshmark, and Thredup making the case that second-hand, a category once relegated to dusty thrift stores, is an appealing entry point for customers. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "Italic sells brandless luxury goods from manufactures for Celine, Prada, and Gucci.," 15 Nov. 2018 Even thrift stores can be loaded with golf clubs, skis, tents, and even the occasional hiking backpack. Colleen Stinchcombe, SELF, "6 Tips for Making Outdoorsy Activities More Affordable," 20 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thrift.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of thrift

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for thrift

Middle English, from Old Norse, prosperity, from thrīfask to thrive

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Statistics for thrift

Last Updated

10 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for thrift

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

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More Definitions for thrift



English Language Learners Definition of thrift

: careful use of money so that it is not wasted

: a business like a bank that is used for saving money : a savings bank or a savings and loan association


\ ˈthrift \

Kids Definition of thrift

: careful management especially of money



Legal Definition of thrift

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

called also thrift institution

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More from Merriam-Webster on thrift

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with thrift

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for thrift

Spanish Central: Translation of thrift

Nglish: Translation of thrift for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about thrift

Comments on thrift

What made you want to look up thrift? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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