Definition of economy in English:



  • 1The wealth and resources of a country or region, especially in terms of the production and consumption of goods and services.

    • ‘A recent shutdown at US docks nearly dragged the region's economies into recession.’
    • ‘The country's market economy is based largely on agriculture.’
    • ‘As their home countries' economies grow and populations age, these flows are likely to get smaller.’
    • ‘Corporate profitability and the profit share in the economy remain relatively strong.’
    • ‘What's more, strong job growth suggests that a region's economy is expanding.’
    • ‘Even a sluggish economy isn't likely to dampen the outlook for these Internet start-ups.’
    • ‘As the city's economy continues to rapidly expand, the housing market booms.’
    • ‘The global capitalist economy remains the most important transnational force in the world today.’
    • ‘China's economy expanded 9.5 percent in the fourth quarter from the year earlier period.’
    • ‘The city's economy depends on the flow of trade between the United States and Canada.’
    • ‘He reiterated the nation's economy is rebounding and that the government will continue to support growth.’
    • ‘China's economy slowed more than expected in the second quarter.’
    • ‘The slowing global economy has weakened demand for Japan's high-technology exports, causing manufacturers to cut production and workers.’
    • ‘On its most reliable measure Japan's stagnant economy grew by a surprising 0.6 % over the same period.’
    • ‘The city's economy is booming, but the divide between the rich and everyone else is widening.’
    • ‘Togo's stagnant, underdeveloped economy is largely dependent on agricultural exports.’
    • ‘But this would, in all likelihood, push the economy into a recession.’
    • ‘The integrated oil companies could also benefit as global economies continue to recover.’
    • ‘Economically, coffee production came to dominate as Colombian insertion into the world market economy depended on this export commodity.’
    • ‘In 2003, the nation's economy expanded 6.9 percent.’
    1. 1.1A particular system or stage of an economy.
      ‘a free-market economy’
      ‘the less-developed economies’
      • ‘It was an arrangement that covered most people, but with Deng Xiaoping's move to a market economy, the system was doomed.’
      • ‘As always, it's a much neater and efficient system than a centralized economy.’
      • ‘The internet economy will be transformed by this second stage of barrier reduction.’
      • ‘Overnight, it could become the delivery system of the digital economy.’
      • ‘A booming rural economy, they hope, will boost the demand for industrial goods.’
      • ‘Now that the market economy has become the system of choice for more and more countries, a key political concern must be to locate the faultline.’
      • ‘But declarations of support for the capitalist economy and the profit system were not enough.’
      • ‘Deforestation set in motion a series of environmental changes that undermined the subsistence economy of the region.’
      • ‘The farm economy in valley is dependent on the canal irrigation system which feeds tens of thousands of acres of land across the valley.’
      • ‘Rather, traditional trade unionists from militant areas of the private economy turned out to support a system that suits them.’
      • ‘The government has to start taking advantage of today's capitalist economy.’
      • ‘If you take the long view, the commodity economy passes through three stages.’
  • 2Careful management of available resources.

    ‘even heat distribution and fuel economy’
    • ‘GM estimates that direct injection can improve gas engine fuel economy by 10 percent.’
    • ‘Now the technology is there to boost fuel economy without sacrificing size or performance.’
    • ‘As well as giving an impressive blend of performance and economy, the new engine is also quiet.’
    • ‘Of course, many people are in favour of improving fuel economy, so are these safety concerns well-founded?’
    • ‘Eaton expects the device to boost fuel economy by letting the engine idle during initial acceleration.’
    • ‘Fuel economy is excellent on a long run, up to 70 mpg, and even in the city you will get upwards of 43 mpg.’
    • ‘Diesel engines also average about 15 percent better fuel economy over gasoline engines.’
    • ‘The transmission allows automatic scheduling of engine speed and transmission ratio for fuel economy.’
    • ‘We're trying to achieve higher targets of engine fuel economy, for example.’
    • ‘And as their popularity has grown, overall U.S. fuel economy and gas consumption have gotten worse.’
    • ‘After that you change over to synthetic oil for a small gain in power, fuel economy, and engine longevity.’
    • ‘As well as excellent fuel economy it also allows the company driver to avoid the three per cent benefit in kind diesel surcharge.’
    • ‘When it is your own home, you can pick the appliances you want and monitor your bills carefully to get good economy from gas and electricity.’
    • ‘It is equipped with particulate filter, and combines low emissions with good economy and excellent performance.’
    • ‘Selection for economy means that smaller cells must have smaller nuclei.’
    • ‘It is the one way to get fuel economy, emissions and performance improvement in the same package.’
    • ‘The extra gears will improve low speed performance and increase fuel economy.’
    • ‘So they're refined to drive, exhibit a bit of style and deliver excellent fuel economy.’
    • ‘It is super-luxurious, completely comfortable, but for the size of engine the fuel economy is actually quite good.’
    • ‘In the auto-shift mode the system chooses the most logical gear for engine speed and fuel economy at any time.’
    thrift, providence, prudence, thriftiness, canniness, carefulness, care, good management, good husbandry, careful budgeting, economizing, saving, scrimping and saving, scrimping, restraint, frugality, fuel-saving, abstemiousness
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Sparing or careful use of something.
      ‘economy of words’
      • ‘Despite his miss, Sheringham was still one of the better players in claret and blue, achieved, as always, with great economy of effort.’
      • ‘He was known for his economy of words, and for his ability to let the pictures do the work.’
      • ‘Skill, in any sport, is the ability of the player to execute a technique with economy of effort.’
      • ‘What marks out Benaud's commentary is not just his absolute economy of words, but his unerring eye for a story.’
      thrift, providence, prudence, thriftiness, canniness, carefulness, care, good management, good husbandry, careful budgeting, economizing, saving, scrimping and saving, scrimping, restraint, frugality, fuel-saving, abstemiousness
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2A financial saving.
      ‘there were many economies to be made by giving up our offices in Manhattan’
      reduction, cut, decrease
      economizing, frugality, thrift, thriftiness, retrenchment, cutting back, belt-tightening, penny-pinching
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3The cheapest class of air or rail travel.
      ‘we flew economy’
      • ‘Business travellers preferred Swissair for its economy class.’
      • ‘And despite his meteoric rise through the ranks, the teenager flies economy class and remains a long way from a world ranking that would command appearance fees from tournament promoters.’
      • ‘The cost of his round-trip economy class ticket was only $570 whereas the one-way 20 kg surcharge amounted to no less than $700.’
      • ‘It was my first time taking business class instead of economy class.’
      • ‘He added the risk was equal for those travelling in first class as those in economy class.’
      • ‘Former spend-happy bankers, executives and traders are counting their dimes and travelling economy class.’
      • ‘Feeling a little awkward, she proceeded to the economy class of the aircraft.’
      • ‘To this end, its executives decided to fly in economy class on short business trips, and to hold video conferences whenever possible.’
      • ‘As you probably know, the seats are really not a lot wider than those from economy class on the planes flying inside Europe.’
      • ‘But Malaysia stands alone among the airlines flying here to score a marvellous five stars for its economy class long haul seating.’
      • ‘Of course, travelling economy class also means no luxurious restaurant car.’
      • ‘He regularly uses public transport and flies economy class.’
      • ‘Another year and she would move from flying economy class to business class.’
      • ‘Like low-cost carriers, British European will offer discounted seats, as well as charging passengers for drinks in the economy class, and selling more tickets over the internet.’
      • ‘I still travel economy class, I talk with the people around me.’
      • ‘Those travelling in the executive class will have to opt for any one of the three items being provided in the first class, while those travelling in the economy class will have an option of only two items.’
      • ‘In our case, people were pushed into economy class and executive class was totally empty.’
      • ‘Clooney, who reputedly flew in on economy class unannounced, was merely making a pit stop to check on his investment.’
      • ‘Although he only has an economy class ticket he planks himself down in First Class and, despite the efforts of the steward, refuses to move.’
      • ‘The two of them quickly left the bathroom, greeted back into the economy class by general, but impressive pandemonium.’


  • 1[attributive] (of a product) offering the best value for the money.

    [in combination] ‘an economy pack’
    1. 1.1Designed to be economical to use.
      ‘an economy car’


  • economy of scale

    • A proportionate saving in costs gained by an increased level of production.

      • ‘It could drive future sales and profits ahead through economies of scale and market share gains from competitive pricing.’
      • ‘Where there were few opportunities for economies of scale in production, brands had little role to play.’
      • ‘Ford inaugurated the single-model car, which was both technologically advanced and inexpensive to buy, thanks to mass production and the economy of scale.’
      • ‘They have total vertical integration and all of the costs savings that go with that in addition to economies of scale.’
      • ‘After that, they have to start going so far afield to procure corn that the extra transportation costs offset any gains from economy of scale in the processing operation.’
      • ‘That means companies that serve the market gain vast manufacturing economies of scale.’
      • ‘They don't benefit from economies of scale because their costs increase as they grow.’
      • ‘He called for regional and local certification so that farmers could enjoy economies of scale in production.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, parts producers cannot use the economies of scale to build businesses and create jobs.’
      • ‘It just needs to take market share, gain economies of scale, and grow profitably.’
  • economy of scope

    • A proportionate saving gained by producing two or more distinct goods, when the cost of doing so is less than that of producing each separately.

      • ‘To the extent that a pair of business lines shares economies of scope, standard economic theory suggests that they will be combined.’
      • ‘Most empirical studies - which mainly refer to the United States - have also failed to find economies of scope in the banking industry.’
      • ‘They interpret the negative results for bidders to mean that any benefits from economies of scope in the acquisitions are totally reflected in the offering prices banks paid to target firms.’
      • ‘This permits the researcher to then estimate whether production of these outputs is characterized by general or specific economies of scale or economies of scope.’
      • ‘To determine the impact of economies of scope we constructed two measures of plant complexity.’
      • ‘These problems seem to have been compounded by the lack of economies of scope for the drug.’
      • ‘Specifically, a model with a greater number of extension outputs might reveal the presence of economies of scope between extension and research that our model does not reveal.’
      • ‘On the other hand, the Samsung network has a long way to go in order to create a significant advantage deriving from the economies of scope expected from such networking.’
      • ‘There is a potential after the next election that we might get a change in cross-media laws, in which case Fairfax will have to be fairly nimble, and look to acquire other businesses that'll give it economies of scope.’


Late 15th century (in the sense management of material resources): from French économie, or via Latin from Greek oikonomia household management based on oikos house + nemein manage Current senses date from the 17th century.