Language Lesson ~ Frugality is a Virtue

Langauge Lessons Dictionary Image Copyright E.S.M.In modern times where the spending of money is oftentimes equated with power and status, the word “frugal” or “frugality” seems to carry an almost negative connotation and be associated with stinginess or miserliness (if you look it up in a thesaurus). However, if we go back to the actual definition and etymology (origins) of the word, we see that frugality is really a positive trait and nothing to be at all ashamed of.

“Frugal” or “frugality” is defined as “characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources”, “prudence in avoiding waste”, and “prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful”.

The word frugal descends from the Latin frugalis, which has been associated with words such as “virtue” or “virtuous,” “honest,” “worthy,” “deserving,” “useful,” “thrifty,” “simple,” “profit” or “profitable,” “value” or “valuable,” “economical,” “temperate,” “sober,” and also “fruit” from frux or fructus, the root of the word “fruitful” which is defined as “yielding,” “profitable,” “productive” or “producing abundantly.”

Greek Coin: AthenaThe word “economy,” which is often associated with frugality, is defined as “management of expenses or resources”. It desecends from the Latin oeconomia and the Greek oikonomíā, which meant “household management”, derived from oikos “house,” nomos “managing”, which comes from nemein “manage” (and also I believe, the root of the Old English niman and the modern German “nehmen” which means “to take”).

Now that you’ve been so lucky as to have been subjected to this fascinating language lesson, in future if anyone makes fun of or criticizes your frugality, you may proudly and nicely, or not so nicely if they’ve been very rude as there is no excuse for rudeness, enlighten them as to the true and noble origins of your lifestyle.

Related Reading:
Language Lesson ~ Finance: A Fine Word
by Penelope Pince

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Sources: Online Etymology Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Babylon Latin Dictionary, Germanic Etymology

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