Definition of parsimony in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpärsəˌmōnē/


Extreme unwillingness to spend money or use resources: a great tradition of public design has been shattered by government parsimony
More example sentences
  • He argues that a ruler who wishes to avoid a reputation for parsimony will find that he needs to spend lavishly and ostentatiously.
  • If it seems that way, it is only because of the puritanism, the pious emotional parsimony, of our American era.
  • We have since paid a terrible price for that parsimony, as those now attending the inquests into the deaths of their loved ones at Paddington will attest.
cheapness, miserliness, meanness, parsimoniousness, niggardliness, close-fistedness, closeness, penny-pinching
informal stinginess, minginess, tightness, tightfistedness, cheeseparing
formal penuriousness


principle (or law) of parsimony

The scientific principle that things are usually connected or behave in the simplest or most economical way, especially with reference to alternative evolutionary pathways. Compare with Occam's razor.
Example sentences
  • He is remembered as the father of the medieval principle of parsimony, or economy, that advises anyone confronted with multiple explanations or models of a phenomenon to choose the simplest explanation first.
  • Lest they fall into anthropomorphizing, many behaviorists follow the principle of parsimony, often called Occam's razor, that restricts inferences to the simplest adequate explanation of any particular animal behavior.
  • Well it is taken to refer to the principle of parsimony that, from the Latin, ‘it is vain to do with more what can be done with less’, or ‘a plurality of things is not to be posited without necessity’.


Late Middle English: from Latin parsimonia, parcimonia, from parcere 'be sparing'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: par·si·mo·ny

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