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[ek-uh-nom-i-kuh l, ee-kuh-] /ˌɛk əˈnɒm ɪ kəl, ˌi kə-/
avoiding waste or extravagance; thrifty:
an economical meal; an economical use of interior space.
Origin of economical
First recorded in 1570-80; economic + -al1
Related forms
noneconomical, adjective
noneconomically, adverb
preeconomical, adjective
preeconomically, adverb
pseudoeconomical, adjective
pseudoeconomically, adverb
quasi-economical, adjective
quasi-economically, adverb
uneconomical, adjective
uneconomically, adverb
1. saving, provident, sparing, parsimonious. Economical, thrifty, frugal imply careful and saving use of resources. Economical implies prudent planning in the disposition of resources so as to avoid unnecessary waste or expense: economical in budgeting household expenditures. Thrifty is a stronger word than economical, and adds to it the idea of industry and successful management: a thrifty shopper looking for bargains. Frugal emphasizes being saving, sometimes excessively saving, especially in such matters as food or dress: frugal almost to the point of being stingy.
1. wasteful, extravagant, spendthrift, prodigal, profligate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for uneconomical
Historical Examples
  • How inefficient and uneconomical our schools, because we cannot fully answer them!

    The Science of Human Nature William Henry Pyle
  • The advent of incandescent lamps of higher efficiency has made it uneconomical to use carbon lamps for general lighting purposes.

    Artificial Light M. Luckiesh
  • Thirdly, it is uneconomical, in taking up valuable room that can be better appropriated.

    Rural Architecture Lewis Falley Allen
  • To leave so powerful and profitable a calling in the hands of foreigners seemed both dangerous and uneconomical.

  • This method of cane culture is, however, most uneconomical, since the soil in time will certainly become exhausted.

    The History of Cuba, vol. 5 Willis Fletcher Johnson
  • The infinitesimal patches of land are cultivated in the most rude and uneconomical fashion.

  • For a similar reason the use of the world as a base for interstellar travel, except for trade in certain items, is uneconomical.

    Youth Isaac Asimov
  • This was dangerous in the face of the enemy (cf. the Peninsular War), and it was also uneconomical.

  • The first steam engine invented by Hero was a rotary engine, but it was of course, most uneconomical of steam.

    Invention Bradley A. Fiske
  • Not only would it be uneconomical to employ a liner, it would also be impossible—there just aren't the landing facilities.

    Rich Living Michael Cathal
British Dictionary definitions for uneconomical


/ˌʌniːkəˈnɒmɪkəl; ˌʌnɛkə-/
not economical; wasteful


/ˌiːkəˈnɒmɪkəl; ˌɛkə-/
using the minimum required; not wasteful of time, effort, resources, etc: an economical car, an economical style
frugal; thrifty: she was economical by nature
a variant of economic (sense 1), economic (sense 2), economic (sense 3), economic (sense 4)
(euphemistic) deliberately withholding information (esp in the phrase economical with the truth)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for uneconomical



1570s, "pertaining to household management; from economic + -al (1). Meaning "pertaining to political economy" is from 1781; that of "thrifty" is from 1780. Related: Economically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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