• frugal •
fru-gêl • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: 1. Sparing of expenditure, meager, thrifty, parsimonious, scrimping, economizing. 2. Inexpensive, cheap, costing little.
Notes: his adjective provides the usual adverb, frugally, and noun, frugality, pronounced [fru-gæl-ê-ti].
In Play: Frugal people are known to husband their wherewithal: "My wife is such a frugal cook, she saves all the bread crumbs and puts them in the turkey dressing." Frugality can sometimes be hard work: "My husband doesn't exactly squander our money, but his frugality succumbs far too often to splurges."
Word History: Today's Good word was taken raw from Middle French frugal, inherited from Latin frugalis, a word based on the uninflected adjective frugi "useful, fit, proper, worthy, honest, discreet, virtuous, temperate, frugal". Frugi is the dative of frux (plural fruges) "fruit; value, result, success". This word was used by the Romans figuratively as we use fruit in English, like 'fruit of one's labor'. It comes from the PIE root bhrug- "fruit", which also underlies Latin fruor "to enjoy", that past participle of which is fructus. Russian borrowed its word for "fruit" from the same participle: frukt. (Today's enjoyable Good Word was the fruit of the mind of Jackie Strauss, host of "Remember When" on WNTP 990 in Philadelphia.)
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