The general sense of economy is careful management of resources such as money and materials, so as not to waste them, but the more familiar reference is to a system of producing, distributing, and consuming goods and services.

The word economy derives from Greek oikonomos "manager of a household," from oikos "house." The earliest meaning of the adjective economical and the noun economics was also in connection with the management of a household. The earliest mention of a nation's economy was in Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan, an important work in the history of political economy.

Primary Meanings of economy

the system of production and distribution and consumption
frugality in the expenditure of money or resources
Full Definitions of economy

n the system of production and distribution and consumption

economic system
show 8 types...
hide 8 types...
an economic system built on large industries rather than on agriculture or craftsmanship
free enterprise, laissez-faire economy, market economy, private enterprise
an economy that relies chiefly on market forces to allocate goods and resources and to determine prices
mixed economy
an economic system that combines private and state enterprises
non-market economy
an economy that is not a market economy
state capitalism
an economic system that is primarily capitalistic but there is some degree of government ownership of the means of production
state socialism
an economic system in which the government owns most means of production but some degree of private capitalism is allowed
capitalism, capitalist economy
an economic system based on private ownership of capital
managed economy
a non-market economy in which government intervention is important in allocating goods and resources and determining prices
Type of:
scheme, system
a group of independent but interrelated elements comprising a unified whole

n frugality in the expenditure of money or resources

“the Scots are famous for their economy
Type of:
frugality, frugalness
prudence in avoiding waste

n the efficient use of resources

economy of effort”
Type of:
skillfulness in avoiding wasted time and effort

n an act of economizing; reduction in cost

“it was a small economy to walk to work every day”
curtailment, downsizing, retrenchment
the reduction of expenditures in order to become financially stable
economy of scale
the saving in cost of production that is due to mass production
Type of:
something done (usually as opposed to something said)