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From Old Norse þrift ‎(thriving condition, prosperity).[1]


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thrift ‎(countable and uncountable, plural thrifts)

  1. (uncountable) The characteristic of using a minimum of something (especially money).
    His thrift can be seen in how little the trashman takes from his house.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Spenser
      The rest, [] willing to fall to thrift, prove very good husbands.
    • Ambrose Bierce
      [] it would appear that before taking this precaution Mr. Bree must have had the thrift to remove a modest competency of the gold []
  2. (countable, US) A savings bank.
    Usually home mortgages are obtained from thrifts.
  3. (countable) Any of various plants of the genus Armeria, particularly Armeria maritima.
  4. (obsolete) Success and advance in the acquisition of property; increase of worldly goods; gain; prosperity.
  5. (obsolete) Vigorous growth, as of a plant.
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  • (characteristic of using a minimum of something): frugality


Derived terms[edit]



thrift ‎(third-person singular simple present thrifts, present participle thrifting, simple past and past participle thrifted)

  1. (transitive) To obtain from a thrift shop.
    • 2007, James Bernard Frost, World Leader Pretend (page 152)
      She probably thrifted the T-shirt and shorts. Bought the hiking boots yesterday at Copeland's. She's not much of a hiker, Xerxes thinks.


  1. ^ thrift in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913