Definition of thrift in English:


Line breaks: thrift
Pronunciation: /θrɪft


[mass noun]
  • 1The quality of using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully: the values of thrift and self-reliance
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    • The annual awards recognise the efforts made by school principals, teachers and parents to encourage the habit of regular saving, thrift and money management.
    • Battling the elements, espousing values of thrift, industry and resourcefulness, the film has the feel of a ‘Boys' Own Adventure’.
    • I agree that thrift and self-reliance are important values, but so are tolerance and the fair-go principle of maximising equality of opportunity.
    providence, prudence, thriftiness, canniness, carefulness, good management, good husbandry, careful budgeting, economy, economizing, saving, scrimping and saving, scrimping, frugality, abstemiousness, parsimony, penny-pinching, miserliness; North American forehandedness
    rare sparingness, frugalness
  • 1.1 [count noun] US another term for savings and loan.
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    • A third set of factors pertains to the market specialization of different institutions - after accounting for the regulatory contrasts among banks, thrifts, credit unions, and indies.
    • The nation's banks and thrifts have increasingly staked their loan portfolios on the mortgage and home-equity businesses.
    • Ellison delivered a 19.7% return by sticking to regional banks and thrifts with clean balance sheets.
  • 2A European plant which forms low-growing tufts of slender leaves with rounded pink flower heads, growing chiefly on sea cliffs and mountains. Also called sea pink.
    • Armeria maritima, family Plumbaginaceae
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    • Enclosing the garden will be a traditional dry stone wall planted with native Irish plants - yarrow, thrift, heart's tongue fern and maiden hair spleenwort.
    • I knew the nodding pink flowers of thrift, and those white ones with the bulbous base must be sea campion.
    • Primrose, cowslip, lady's mantle, bugle, thrift, clustered bellflower are widely available in garden centres, but are all natives.


Middle English (in the sense 'prosperity, acquired wealth, success'): from Old Norse, from thrífa 'grasp, get hold of'. Compare with thrive.

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