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Parsimony is a noun that describes the personality trait of being stingy or unwilling to part with one’s money. Another synonym is thrifty, so the term can either have a good connotation or be pejorative.

The law of parsimony is a scientific principle that basically says the simplest explanation is the most likely to be correct. It is also known as Ockham’s Razor. The phrase law of parsimony is uncommon enough that every instance we found of it had an explanation in text.

A person who is stingy can be described by the adjective parsimonious. He or she does things parsimoniously. There is also the uncommon noun form of parsimoniousness.


A member of my own family, famous for her parsimony, will be at the dinner and has become agitated at the thought that I will be paying for everyone out of my limited income when our newly super-rich friend could easily do it without even noticing and is bound to offer. [The Spectator]

I can’t decide between a cheery wave to ex-wives or greeting my bank manager, who’s been a bit parsimonious over increasing my overdraft facility. [The New Zealand Herald]

Raising money, like making money, requires spending money. Good non-profits spend it prudently, but prudently does not necessarily mean parsimoniously. [The Herald Sun]

Ms. Stritch’s famous parsimoniousness — she wasn’t above shoveling free fruit into a handy shopping bag — was another of the evening’s running gags. [The New York Times]