See also: Thrift


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From Middle English thrift, thryfte, þrift, from Old Norse þrift (thriving condition, prosperity). Equivalent to thrive +‎ -t.[1]


  • enPR: thrĭft, IPA(key): /θɹɪft/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪft
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thrift (countable and uncountable, plural thrifts)

  1. (uncountable) The characteristic of using a minimum of something (especially money).
    His thrift can be seen in how little the trashman takes from his house.
    • 1633, Edmund Spenser, A Vewe of the Present State of Irelande  [], Dublin: [] Sir James Ware; reprinted as A View of the State of Ireland [], Dublin: [] the Society of Stationers, [] Hibernian Press,  [] By John Morrison, 1809:
      The rest, [] willing to fall to thrift , as I have seene many souldiers after the service to prove very good husbands
    • 1892, Ambrose Bierce, Tales of Soldiers and Civilians - Holy Terror
      [] it would appear that before taking this precaution Mr. Bree must have had the thrift to remove a modest competency of the gold []
  2. (countable, US) A savings bank.
    Usually, home mortgages are obtained from thrifts.
  3. (countable) Any of various plants of the genus Armeria, particularly Armeria maritima.
  4. (obsolete) Success and advance in the acquisition of property; increase of worldly goods; gain; prosperity; profit.
    • 1380-1400, Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales:
      Medleth na-more with that art, I mene, / For, if ye doon, your thrift is goon ful clene.
    • c. 1596-97, William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act I scene i[1]:
      Bassanio: [] And many Jasons come in quest of her. / O my Antonio, had I but the means / To hold a rival place with one of them, / I have a mind presages me such thrift, / That I should questionless be fortunate!
    • c. 1599-1601, William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act III scene ii[2]:
      Hamlet: No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp, / And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee / Where thrift may follow fawning.
  5. (obsolete) Vigorous growth, as of a plant.
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  • (characteristic of using a minimum of something): frugality


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thrift (third-person singular simple present thrifts, present participle thrifting, simple past and past participle thrifted)

  1. (transitive) To obtain from a thrift shop.
    • 2007, James Bernard Frost, World Leader Pretend, page 152:
      She probably thrifted the T-shirt and shorts. Bought the hiking boots yesterday at Copeland's. She's not much of a hiker, Xerxes thinks.