Definition of frugal in US English:



  • 1Sparing or economical with regard to money or food.

    ‘he led a remarkably frugal existence’
    • ‘Naturally frugal with time and money, I'm always looking for shortcuts.’
    • ‘"There's nothing wrong with being frugal, " he chided her.’
    • ‘She had very regular working habits and a frugal lifestyle.’
    • ‘Many of us live a frugal existence because of past provisions we made and are not entitled to supplementary benefit etc.’
    • ‘He took seriously his pledge made at the outset of the war that he would live a frugal and abstemious existence as long as the war lasted.’
    • ‘Furthermore, nature is notoriously frugal with her resources.’
    • ‘I told you that I hated to waste money and that I was very frugal.’
    • ‘Despite the outside income and a frugal lifestyle, the couple still lacks health insurance.’
    • ‘All the changes that are incentivised by the solutions economy, rewarding providers and customers for frugal use of resources, and for complete recovery.’
    • ‘Friendly, easy-going and always ready to stop and talk or provide advice, even though compared to most visitors many of them live a frugal existence to say the least.’
    • ‘He was normally very frugal with the Corps' credits.’
    • ‘They believe this would encourage manufacturers to be more frugal with resources.’
    • ‘There is a virtue to this way of organizing things as it meant I was rewarded economically for my frugal use of energy instead of subsidizing the neighbours who chose to leave their lights on.’
    • ‘What are your ideas for saving money and being frugal with fabrics and sewing?’
    • ‘Well, you know he is notoriously frugal.’
    • ‘Being economical and frugal is one thing, being a tightwad to the detriment of the investment we all have in living here is something else all together.’
    • ‘Schmidt is potentially a cold character, spartan with words and frugal with money.’
    • ‘He even started working full-time and being extra frugal with his money.’
    • ‘Yet Basques were also respected as hard workers who were frugal with their money and conservative in their politics.’
    • ‘Years of being frugal with their money doesn't change in one night - or one pull of a slot machine handle.’
    thrifty, sparing, economical, saving
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    1. 1.1 Simple and plain and costing little.
      ‘a frugal meal’
      • ‘In general terms the food is frugal and relies on fresh ingredients and dexterity to transform them.’
      • ‘Over a frugal meal and by flickering candlelight, they discussed matters.’
      • ‘He maintained that the weakness of old age should be resisted by a seriously undertaken regimen of frugal eating, moderate exercise and intellectual pursuit.’
      • ‘You share brief, frugal meals with the monks in the refectory, then it's back to your cell to pray - for salvation, inspiration, or deliverance, take your pick.’
      • ‘He is shocked when the Ghost of Christmas Present shows him the frugal Christmas meal enjoyed by Bob Cratchit and his family.’
      • ‘The frugal food they had at home were put in front of them through the sweat and toil of their aged mother, Antoniammal, who did chores in a few households in their locality.’
      • ‘We've seen the interview with the ascetic visionary who squats before a frugal meal among his disciples.’
      • ‘He told us that frugal meals were best for people and that delicious food was our enemy.’
      • ‘A few of his friends made small contributions on the spot and provided a frugal meal to all the street children who walked into the exhibition.’
      • ‘Their meals, though simple and frugal, seemed to have been wholesome and nourishing, the womenfolk being experts in cooking and domestic economy.’
      • ‘She begins cooking their frugal meals and the sisters show her how, not realising that Babette was once a great cook in Paris, a culinary genius.’
      • ‘Tuna casseroles are one of the most frugal dinners you can make.’
      • ‘There is something simple, pure and frugal about a home-made loaf, and the feel-good factor is better than a trip to the gym.’
      • ‘Pilgrims still stay at simple hostels which may only offer a bunk bed and a frugal Mediterranean meal of bread, olives and red wine, shared with fellow pilgrims in candlelight.’
      • ‘Most meals are frugal and simple with the daily consumption of meat kept to a minimum.’
      • ‘They are less likely than horses to become ill or lame, and can live on frugal rations and in more extreme temperatures than horses.’
      meagre, scanty, scant, paltry, skimpy, insufficient
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Mid 16th century: from Latin frugalis, from frugi ‘economical, thrifty’, from frux, frug- ‘fruit’.