Definition of frugal in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfruːɡ(ə)l/


1Sparing or economical as regards money or food: I’m a bit too frugal to splash out on designer clothes
More example sentences
  • Schmidt is potentially a cold character, spartan with words and frugal with money.
  • He took seriously his pledge made at the outset of the war that he would live a frugal and abstemious existence as long as the war lasted.
  • Naturally frugal with time and money, I'm always looking for shortcuts.
thrifty, sparing, economical, saving;
careful, cautious, prudent, provident, unwasteful, sensible, canny;
abstemious, abstinent, austere, self-denying, ascetic, non-indulgent, self-disciplined, spartan, puritanical, nunlike, monastic, monkish;
miserly, parsimonious, niggardly, scrimping, cheese-paring, penny-pinching, close-fisted, ungenerous, grasping;
North American  forehanded
informal tight-fisted, tight, mingy, stingy
North American informal cheap
1.1Simple and plain and costing little: a frugal meal
More example sentences
  • Most meals are frugal and simple with the daily consumption of meat kept to a minimum.
  • Their meals, though simple and frugal, seemed to have been wholesome and nourishing, the womenfolk being experts in cooking and domestic economy.
  • There is something simple, pure and frugal about a home-made loaf, and the feel-good factor is better than a trip to the gym.
meagre, scanty, scant, paltry, skimpy, insufficient;
plain, simple, moderate, temperate, austere, ascetic, spartan, restrained;
inexpensive, cheap, economical, energy-efficient, energy-saving, fuel-efficient, fuel-saving



Pronunciation: /ˈfruːɡ(ə)li/
Example sentences
  • Still, living frugally off the money from her earlier record and publishing deals, she may gripe about the problems of being a self-released artist but can still afford to be restless and vague rather than career-driven.
  • As someone who lives quite frugally, the amount I'll need to pay is the equivalent to the amount I probably save by using coupons and buying generic stuff in the supermarket over an entire year.
  • And absolutely none of the money in question ever ended up in the coffers of this tiny, frugally funded organization of those who lost someone the day America was attacked.




Mid 16th century: from Latin frugalis, from frugi 'economical, thrifty', from frux, frug- 'fruit'.

  • fruit from Middle English:

    Fruit comes from Latin fructus ‘enjoyment of produce, harvest’ from frui ‘to enjoy’. The Latin for fruit also had the sense ‘profit, value’ which is why it is also the source of frugal (mid 16th century) ‘economical, thrifty’. In America fruit is a term for a gay man. It could come from the US slang sense ‘a dupe, an easy victim’, with the idea of a fruit that is easily ‘picked’, or with the derogatory implication of homosexuals being ‘soft’ like fruit. Fruitcake (M20th in this case) meaning ‘a mad person’ is a play on nutty in as nutty as a fruitcake, also mid 20th century. Fruity in the sense ‘sexually suggestive’ draws on the idea of being ‘ripe and juicy’ and dates from the early 20th century. See also nut. Forbidden fruit looks back to the biblical account of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which was forbidden to Adam in the Garden of Eden, and which he was disastrously tempted to eat. See also apple

Words that rhyme with frugal

bugle, fugal, google

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: fru¦gal

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