The Meaning of Frugal: What It Is and How To Use It

What does it mean if someone is frugal? This article covers the meaning of frugal and provides other related information.

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

Are you a frugal person when it comes to spending? What does it mean to be frugal? This article will cover the meaning of the word frugal and related topics to better understand what it means to be frugal.  

What Does Frugal Mean?

According to Dictionary, frugal is an adjective that means economical, prudent when it comes to money, and not wasteful. Frugal can also mean low in terms of expenses. The pronunciation of frugal is ˈfru gəl, and frugal is two syllables: fru-gal. The adverb form of frugal is frugally.

Frugal has a neutral connotation. This means that the word frugal does not necessarily evoke positive or negative emotions when it is used. For example, a word with a positive connotation that has the same meaning as frugal is prudent, and a word with a negative connotation and the same meaning as frugal is stingy. 

What Is the Etymology of Frugal?

According to Dictionary, the word frugal (ˈfruːɡ ə l) has been used since 16th century Middle English. This word comes from the Latin frūgālis and the Latin frūgī, which mean useful or temperate. In addition, these words come from the Latin frux fruit and the Latin suffix ālis.

What Are Examples of Frugality?

In order to learn how to use the word frugal in a sentence, try studying these example sentences. While knowing a word’s definition is great for a vocabulary quiz, it is not the most useful for everyday use. If you know how to use the word frugal in a sentence, you are more likely to use it IRL. Try to incorporate this word of the day into your daily life!

Example #1: A Frugal Shopper

She was a frugal shopper who only bought things when she needed them. However, she was great at making spendthrift purchases and turning tattered pieces into something new.

Example #2: A Frugal Lunch

He had no money left the day before payday and made a frugal lunch of rice and beans. He knew he needed to get better at saving money, which encouraged him to make a change.

Example #3: A Frugal Way to Live

They made smart use of resources and practiced frugal living to save for their dream home. It may have been trending to live in a tiny home, but their choice to live small was for a greater purpose.

Example #4: A Frugal Meal

While it was not much, the nomads were grateful for the frugal meal at the inn. They could have received dirt as a meal and still enjoyed it because their journey was long. They had not eaten in two days.

Example #5: A Frugal Lifestyle

They preferred to live in a frugal way rather than an extravagant way because material possessions did not make them happy. 

What Are Translations of Frugal?

The concept of frugality is present all over the world, not just in American English. To learn how to say the word frugal in many languages, check out this list of translations of frugal from Nice Translator. Then, try discussing frugality with people you know who do not speak English.

  • Marathi: फ्रुगल
  • Bengali: মিতব্যয়ী
  • Croatian: štedljiv
  • Indonesian: hemat
  • Romanian: frugal
  • Hindi: मितव्ययी
  • Czech: skromný
  • Norwegian: frugal
  • Korean: 검소한
  • Greek: ολιγαρκής
  • Telugu: పొడుగు
  • Portuguese (Brazil): frugal
  • Chinese (Taiwan): 節儉
  • Latvian: taupīgs
  • Russian: скромный
  • Slovak: skromný
  • Arabic: مقتصد
  • Italian: frugale
  • Turkish: tutumlu
  • Chinese (PRC): 节俭
  • Polish: oszczędny
  • Basque: agal
  • Estonian: frugal
  • Portuguese (Portugal): frugal
  • French: frugal
  • Gujarati: ફુલલ
  • Ukrainian: фригальний
  • Malayalam: മിതമായ
  • Bulgarian: пестеливо
  • Kannada: ಮಿತವ್ಯಯ
  • Finnish: säästäväinen
  • Hebrew: חסכני
  • Serbian: штедљив
  • Hungarian: takarékos
  • Catalan: frugal
  • Dutch: zuinig
  • Slovenian: frugal
  • Amharic: Fargagal
  • Welsh: frugal
  • Japanese: フルガル
  • Thai: ประหยัด
  • German: sparsam
  • Filipino: Frugal
  • Spanish: frugal
  • Swedish: sparsam
  • Tamil: அளவாக செலவிடுதல்

What Are Synonyms of Frugal?

Frugal has a neutral connotation, which does not evoke positive or negative emotions. However, sometimes you may want to describe someone as frugal, positively or negatively. For this, you can use the below list of synonyms of frugal from Power Thesaurus

See if you can determine which of the words below have positive and negative connotations!

  • abstemious
  • abstinent
  • ascetic
  • austere
  • canny
  • careful
  • cautious
  • chary
  • cheap
  • cheeseparing
  • conservative
  • conserving
  • discreet
  • economic
  • economical
  • economizing
  • energy-efficient
  • fuel-efficient
  • fuel-saving
  • inexpensive
  • lean
  • low
  • low-priced
  • meager
  • mean
  • mingy
  • miserly
  • moderate
  • modest
  • parsimonious
  • penny-pinching
  • penny-wise
  • penurious
  • poor
  • preserving
  • provident
  • prudent
  • reasonable
  • restrained
  • saving
  • scant
  • scanty
  • scotch
  • scrimping
  • self-denying
  • skimpy
  • spare
  • sparing
  • spartan
  • stingy
  • stinting
  • temperate
  • thrifty
  • tight
  • tight-fisted
  • tightfisted
  • unwasteful
  • wary

What Are Antonyms of Frugal?

If someone you know is not frugal, you can describe them using an antonym of frugal from Power Thesaurus. Like in the list of synonyms of frugal, some of these words have a positive connotation and some of them have a negative connotation. 

See if you can determine which are which!

  • big-ticket
  • bountiful
  • careless
  • charitable
  • costly
  • dear
  • excessive
  • exorbitant
  • expensive
  • extravagant
  • fancy
  • freehanded
  • generous
  • high
  • high-priced
  • holdup
  • immoderate
  • improvident
  • indulgent
  • inordinate
  • invaluable
  • lavish
  • liberal
  • munificent
  • not economical
  • openhanded
  • overgenerous
  • overpriced
  • pricey
  • prodigal
  • profligate
  • profuse
  • reckless
  • rich
  • ruinous
  • spendthrift
  • squandering
  • thriftless
  • uneconomical
  • unselfish
  • unsparing
  • unthrifty
  • upscale
  • valuable
  • wasteful


Frugal (fru gəl) is an adjective that means spendthrift or economical. The word frugal is fairly neutral and often describes someone who spends money wisely and saves a lot. 

Do you consider yourself a frugal person or are you more of a spender? Neither way is right or wrong, but it is important to know where you fall!


  1. Frugal synonyms – 699 Words and Phrases for Frugal | Power Thesaurus 
  2. Frugal antonyms – 340 Opposites of Frugal | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Frugal Definition & Meaning | 
  4. Frugal | Nice Translator