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.
    • (Can we date this quote by Edmund Spenser and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      The rest, [] willing to fall to thrift, prove very good husbands.
    • (Can we date this quote by Ambrose Bierce and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      [] 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.