Definition of thrift in US English:



  • 1The quality of using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully.

    ‘the values of thrift and self-reliance’
    • ‘You, as an organisation pride yourself on teaching your members the values of thrift and prudence.’
    • ‘We're a Yorkshire company and we will maintain our Yorkshire values - thrift being one of them,’ he said.’
    • ‘His frugality and thrift were particularly notorious.’
    • ‘To the contrary, perhaps we can claim that much of our economic stability has been built up by the sensible thrift of a vast section of the community.’
    • ‘The annual awards recognise the efforts made by school principals, teachers and parents to encourage the habit of regular saving, thrift and money management.’
    • ‘No wonder, many victims readily conclude that thrift and self-reliance are useless and even injurious and that spending and debt are preferable by far.’
    • ‘Thus there was little incentive to develop ‘dainty dishes’ for main courses, and even less when thrift and economy were considered more important than flavour.’
    • ‘Americans have long been very consumption-oriented while the Chinese and other East Asians value thrift.’
    • ‘Values such as solidarity, thrift, cleanliness and self-discipline were regularly identified as characteristic of them.’
    • ‘But however many millions it may cost to support the monarchy in all its pomp, the Queen sets a shining example of thrift and prudence.’
    • ‘Battling the elements, espousing values of thrift, industry and resourcefulness, the film has the feel of a ‘Boys' Own Adventure’.’
    • ‘How has the UK moved from being a nation that held up thrift as a virtue and considered debt a vice, to owing a trillion pounds on mortgages, credit cards and other loans?’
    • ‘Not to do so would be wasteful, an offence against Scottish thrift and against her tireless spirit.’
    • ‘At least in some parts of New England, where we still take the values of thrift and conservation seriously, it is the responsible citizen who hangs out, not just environmental zealots.’
    • ‘Why do you think that it's important to teach kids, especially in a wealthy family like yours, the value of thrift?’
    • ‘Bert's attention to thrift played out one evening after a Microbiology Resource Committee meeting.’
    • ‘I agree that thrift and self-reliance are important values, but so are tolerance and the fair-go principle of maximising equality of opportunity.’
    • ‘Economic Calvinism holds the doctrine that industry, thrift, and economic success is evidence of one's predestination.’
    • ‘Her household was run with thrift and economy - she always made her own jam, bottled fruit, made cakes and pastry and was never without her knitting and sewing.’
    • ‘The merchant's large estate, he maintained, was the result of ‘honest industry, forecast, prudence, thrift.’’
    providence, prudence, thriftiness, canniness, carefulness, good management, good husbandry, careful budgeting, economy, economizing, saving, scrimping and saving, scrimping, frugality, abstemiousness, parsimony, penny-pinching, miserliness
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1US
      another term for savings and loan
      • ‘Large thrift banks in California imitated market entries of other large thrifts.’
      • ‘G&L Internet Bank, the nation's only Web-based financial institution catering to gay people, may close in January, according to a notice filed with the federal office that oversees thrifts.’
      • ‘Merger mania within the publicly traded thrifts occurred in the late 1990s.’
      • ‘The official banking system is trying to crackdown on these unregulated thrifts but since the thrift funds have strong connections to certain political groups, chances of a regulatory intervention is very low.’
      • ‘Ellison delivered a 19.7% return by sticking to regional banks and thrifts with clean balance sheets.’
      • ‘Superior Bank, an Illinois thrift, failed this summer because of its exposure to subprime loans.’
      • ‘Around this time, Stephen Smith, a lumber merchant from Pennsylvania, was the largest shareholder in a thrift named Columbia Bank.’
      • ‘A decade ago, thrifts got themselves into trouble because they made residential and commercial real estate loans for inflated amounts to borrowers who could not pay.’
      • ‘Superior's cost could drag the thrifts ' insurance fund below 1.4% of deposits.’
      • ‘Banks, thrifts, and credit unions collected a record $37.8 billion in service charges last year.’
      • ‘Nonfinancial borrowing from banks and thrifts has fallen since the mid-1970s to a modem-day low of 22 percent and 9 percent respectively.’
      • ‘Parsons was chief executive of Dime Bancorp, a New York thrift savings bank, for five years from 1990.’
      • ‘The thrifts were looted by borrowers, who used inflated appraisals and phony financial statements to obtain funds they had no hope of paying back.’
      • ‘The Fed oversees banks and thrifts, manages the nation's money, and influences the economy.’
      • ‘The nation's banks and thrifts have increasingly staked their loan portfolios on the mortgage and home-equity businesses.’
      • ‘Having bought up numerous thrifts in the aftermath of the Savings & Loan crisis, he says, WaMu ended up with purchases that ‘came with some baggage.’’
      • ‘A third set of factors pertains to the market specialization of different institutions - after accounting for the regulatory contrasts among banks, thrifts, credit unions, and indies.’
      • ‘Banks and thrifts held $491 billion of home equity loans on their books at the end of 2004, up 91% from the end of 2002 and more than 40% in 2004 alone.’
      • ‘Wal-Mart insists its financial plans don't depend on owning a bank or a thrift.’
      • ‘They permitted the thrifts to enter the commercial real estate loans market, at the same time raising the maximum deposit covered by federal insurance from $40,000 to $100,000.’
      • ‘The Resolution Trust Corp., which disposed of the failed thrifts, had a simpler task because the banks were already in receivership.’
  • 2A European plant which forms low-growing tufts of slender leaves with rounded pink flower heads, growing chiefly on sea cliffs and mountains.

    Armeria maritima, family Plumbaginaceae

    Also called sea pink
    • ‘Enclosing the garden will be a traditional dry stone wall planted with native Irish plants - yarrow, thrift, heart's tongue fern and maiden hair spleenwort.’
    • ‘Primrose, cowslip, lady's mantle, bugle, thrift, clustered bellflower are widely available in garden centres, but are all natives.’
    • ‘Sam showed slides including salt-tolerant species of sea-lavender and thrift, moving on to moths and butterflies.’
    • ‘It was dark when Macarron and I walked up the path between the thrift and the sea grass to our door.’
    • ‘We got a couple of trays of a new variety of salvia, some new grasses and a delicious little thrift.’
    • ‘I knew the nodding pink flowers of thrift, and those white ones with the bulbous base must be sea campion.’
    • ‘These work well with pots of perennials such as thrift Armeria alliacea alternated with creeping Gypsophila repens.’
    • ‘The new thrift plant in its small terracotta planter looks as if it'd been there all its life - erect and sprightly, just as it should be.’
    • ‘Pinks with lavender blooms spill around drifts of pink-flowered soapwort and rosy pink drumsticks of common thrift.’


Middle English (in the sense ‘prosperity, acquired wealth, success’): from Old Norse, from thrífa ‘grasp, get hold of’. Compare with thrive.