From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



spend +‎ thrift ((archaic) savings; profits; wealth).



spendthrift (comparative more spendthrift, superlative most spendthrift)

  1. Improvident, profligate, or wasteful. [from late 16th c.]
    • 1621, attributed to Thomas Heywood or John Cooke, A Pleasant Conceited Comedy, wherein is Shewed, how a Man may Choose a Good Wife from a Bad. As It hath been Sundry Times Acted by the Earle of Worcesters Seruants[1], London: Printed [by Thomas Purfoot] for Mathew Law, and are to be sold at his shop in Paules church yard, neere vnto S. Augustines gate, at the signe of the Foxe, →OCLC:
      Wel, go to wild oats, ſpend thrift prodigal, / Ile croſſe thy name quight from my reckning booke: / For theſe accounts, faith it ſhall ſcath thee ſome what, / I will not ſay what, ſomewhat it ſhall be.
    • 1817 (date written), [Jane Austen], chapter XII, in Persuasion; published in Northanger Abbey: And Persuasion. [], volume IV, London: John Murray, [], 20 December 1817 (indicated as 1818), →OCLC, page 299:
      He was now esteemed quite worthy to address the daughter of a foolish, spendthrift baronet, who had not had principle or sense enough to maintain himself in the situation in which Providence had placed him, and who could give his daughter at present but a small part of the share of ten thousand pounds which must be hers hereafter.
    • 1831, [George Payne Rainsford James], chapter II, in Philip Augustus; or, The Brothers in Arms. [...] In Three Volumes, volume III, London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, New Burlington Street, →OCLC, page 33:
      Powerful feelings and generous designs are, alas! too like the inheritance of a miser in the hands of some spendthrift heir—lavished away on trifles in our early years, and needed, but not posessed, in our riper age.
    • 2009, Grant Hayter-Menzies, “Preface”, in Mrs. Ziegfield: The Public and Private Lives of Billie Burke, Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, →ISBN, page 3:
      Billie Burke's career and life often twined together in this manner – so many of her roles called on her to play parts that were fragments of her real life: the sought-after young stage beauty, the wronged wife, the spendthrift matriarch of bankrupt wealth, the woman too old to be acting so young.
  2. Extravagant or lavish.
    • 1834, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], chapter XXV, in Francesca Carrara. [], volume II, London: Richard Bentley, [], (successor to Henry Colburn), →OCLC, page 269:
      Rufus's stone lies in the outskirts of the forest, and in a few minutes they emerged upon the broad heath which bounds it, then like a sea of gold; for the furze was in the first glory of its spendthrift wealth.
    • 2004, Ethan Mordden, “The Great Tradition”, in The Happiest Corpse I’ve Ever Seen: The Last Twenty-five Years of the Broadway Musical, New York, N.Y.: Palgrave Macmillan, →ISBN, page 6:
      A high-powered entertainment that acceded to the spiraling capitalization costs of the big musical with a production of spendthrift command, La Cage [aux Folles] came in at summer's end as a guaranteed hit.
    • 2017 May 13, Barney Ronay, “Antonio Conte’s brilliance has turned Chelsea’s pop-up team into champions”, in The Guardian[2], London, archived from the original on 9 September 2017:
      This feels like a significant league title in more ways than one. It is now 14 years since Roman Abramovich emerged as an spendthrift presence in west London.




spendthrift (plural spendthrifts)

  1. Someone who spends money improvidently or wastefully.
    • c. 1599–1602 (date written), William Shakespeare, The Tragicall Historie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke: [] (Second Quarto), London: [] I[ames] R[oberts] for N[icholas] L[ing] [], published 1604, →OCLC, [Act IV, scene vii], signature [L4], verso:
      [T]hat vve vvould doe / VVe ſhould doe vvhen vve vvould: for this vvould changes, / And hath abatements and delayes as many, / As there are tongues, are hands, are accedents, / And then this ſhould is like a ſpend thrifts ſigh, / That hurts by eaſing; []
    • 1602, [Thomas Heywood], A Pleasant Conceited Comedie, wherein is Shewed How a Man may Chuse a Good Wife from a Bad. [], London: [] [Thomas Creede] for Mathew Lawe, [], →OCLC; reprinted as How a Man may Choose a Good Wife from a Bad (Old English Drama Students Facsimile; 50), [London: s.n.], 1912, →OCLC, signature C, recto:
      VVell goe too vvild oates, ſpend thrift, prodigall, / Ile croſſe thy name quite from my reckoning booke: / For theſe accounts, faith it ſhall skathe thee ſomevvhat, / I vvill not ſay vvhat ſomevvhat it ſhall be.
    • 1611, Randle Cotgrave, compiler, “Prodigue”, in A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues, London: [] Adam Islip, →OCLC, column 1:
      Prodigue, & grand beuveur de vin n'a du ſien ne four, ne moulin: Pro. The drunken ſpendthrift vvaſts his beſt poſſeſſions.
    • 1999, Warren G. Bovée, “Democratic Promise, Democratic Reality, and the Journalists”, in Discovering Journalism (Contributions to the Study of Mass Media and Communications; no. 56), Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, →ISBN, →ISSN, pages 79–80:
      [T]emperate people choose neither total abstinence nor perpetual indulgence, but something in between; liberal people are neither spendthrifts nor misers; the properly angry are neither apathetic nor short-tempered; and the strictly just person distributes to everyone what is his or her due, neither more nor less.
  2. (figuratively) Anything that distributes its attributes profusely, without restraint.
    • 1837, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], “Publishing”, in Ethel Churchill: Or, The Two Brides. [], volume II, London: Henry Colburn, [], →OCLC, page 9:
      It was one of those bright days in spring, which are very spendthrifts of sunshine, when the darkest alley in London wins a golden glimpse, and the eternal mist around St. Paul's turns to a glittering haze:...



Derived terms[edit]


Further reading[edit]