These words are two sides of the same coin: ways to get more or to make something go further. One side is about saving; the other is about spending less.
Scrimp is the saving side of the coin. As an adjective, it means meager, scanty. To scrimp is to be sparing with or thrifty; to save slowly and with difficulty.
Many arts and physical education programs landed on the chopping block, while schools often were forced to scrimp and improvise in bizarre ways.
And the university has been scrimping even on bare necessities--like vacuuming the floors.
Skimp, which most likely derives from scrimp, is the spending-less side of the coin. As an adjective, it also means meager or barely enough. To skimp is to give barely enough or to save by getting barely enough.
One came out just last week showing that people who skimp on sleep seem to have higher blood cholesterol than people who sleep more.
Although this should be a standard part of everyone's holiday preparation, too many people skimp on having time for themselves.
Yet the idiom is to scrimp and save. But, then, idioms do not necessarily mean the same as the sum of their parts:
But many indigent parents still scrimp and save just to send their children to school, hoping that their kids will have shot at success.
The difference between scrimp and skimp is slight, and if the news media is any indication, even that is disappearing quickly.
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When you scrimp, you get by on very little money. If you scrimp all year long in order to buy tickets to the Stanley Cup finals, you save every last penny to be able to go to those games. Continue reading...
The verb skimp refers to using a limited amount of something. When tomato prices are high, a cost-conscious restaurant might skimp on the amount of chopped tomatoes it puts on salads. Continue reading...