extreme or excessive economy or frugality; stinginess; niggardliness.

Origin of parsimony

1400–50; late Middle English parcimony < Latin parsimōnia, parcimōnia frugality, thrift, equivalent to parsi- (combining form of parsus, past participle of parcere to economize) or parci- (combining form of parcus sparing) + -mōnia -mony Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for parsimony

frugality, meanness, providence, selfishness, miserliness

Examples from the Web for parsimony

Contemporary Examples of parsimony

  • The family lived with a contradictory sense of parsimony and indulgence, “both beyond and below our means.”

    The Daily Beast logo
    Great Weekend Reads: December 30, 2011

    Jacob Silverman, Michael Thomsen, Lauren Elkin

    December 30, 2011

Historical Examples of parsimony

  • But with the operations of magic Rodogune had delighted to supersede the parsimony of nature.


    William Godwin

  • I had often heard of the thrift and parsimony of Herr Oppovich's household.

    That Boy Of Norcott's

    Charles James Lever

  • Mre charged Pop with parsimony and he charged her with recklessness.

    In a Little Town

    Rupert Hughes

  • Parsimony was her great virtue, and a power of saving her strong point.

    Orley Farm

    Anthony Trollope

  • It is not parsimony or unwillingness to give, but a disposition to save.


    Calvin Elliott

British Dictionary definitions for parsimony



extreme care or reluctance in spending; frugality; niggardliness
Derived Formsparsimonious (ˌpɑːsɪˈməʊnɪəs), adjectiveparsimoniously, adverb

Word Origin for parsimony

C15: from Latin parcimōnia, from parcere to spare
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

Word Origin and History for parsimony

early 15c., from Latin parsimonia "sparingness, frugality, thrift," from pars-, past participle stem of parsi, perfect tense of parcere "to spare, save, refrain from, use moderately" (which is said to be unrelated to Latin parvus "small," parum "too little") + -monia, suffix signifying action, state, or condition.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper