1. Given to or marked by prudence and restraint in the use of material resources.
2. Deficient or limited in quantity, fullness, or extent: sparing amounts of criticism.
Synonyms: sparing, frugal, thrifty, economical
These adjectives mean exercising or reflecting care in the use of resources, such as money. Sparing stresses restraint, as in expenditure: a quiet librarian who was sparing of words. Frugal implies self-denial and abstention from luxury: a frugal diet; a frugal monk. Thrifty suggests industry, care, and diligence in conserving means: grew up during the Depression and learned to be thrifty. Economical emphasizes prudence, skillful management, and the avoidance of waste: an economical shopper; an economical use of energy.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.