Printable Version
Pronunciation: fru-gêl Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Sparing of expenditure, meager, thrifty, parsimonious, scrimping, economizing. 2. Inexpensive, cheap, costing little.

Notes: This 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. The Latin word is also the source of Spanish fruto, Italian frutto, as in tutti-frutti "all fruits", German Frucht, Swedish frukt, and French fruit, whence the English word for the same edible. .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.)

Dr. Goodword,

P.S. - Register for the Daily Good Word E-Mail! - You can get our daily Good Word sent directly to you via e-mail in either HTML or Text format. Go to our Registration Page to sign up today!