1821 as a term in advertising, at first meant simply "cheaper," then "bigger and thus cheaper per unit or amount" (1950). See economy (n.).
1530s, "household management," from Latin oeconomia (source of French économie, Spanish economia, German Ökonomie, etc.), from Greek oikonomia "household management, thrift," from oikonomos "manager, steward," from oikos "house, abode, dwelling" (cognate with Latin vicus "district," vicinus "near;" Old English wic "dwelling, village," from PIE root *weik- (1) "clan") + nomos "managing," from nemein "manage" (from PIE root *nem- "assign, allot; take").
The meaning "frugality, judicious use of resources" is from 1660s. The sense of "wealth and resources of a country" (short for political economy) is attested from 1650s, but even in the 1780s the American Founders in laying out the new republic generally used economy only as "frugality." So also in that sense in the Federalist, except in one place where full political economy is used.
Col Mason — He had moved without success for a power to make sumptuary regulations. He had not yet lost sight of his object. After descanting on the extravagance of our manners, the excessive consumption of foreign superfluities, and the necessity of restricting it, as well with oeconomical as republican views, he moved that a Committee be appointed to report articles of Association for encouraging by the advice the influence and the example of the members of the Convention, oeconomy[,] frugality[,] and american manufactures. [Madison, Sept. 13, 1787, in Farrand, "Records of the Federal Convention;" the motion was agreed to without opposition]
1590s, "pertaining to management of a household," perhaps shortened from economical, or else from French économique or directly from Latin oeconomicus "of domestic economy," from Greek oikonomikos "practiced in the management of a household or family" (also the name of a treatise by Xenophon on the duties of domestic life), hence, "frugal, thrifty," from oikonomia "household management" (see economy (n.)). Meaning "relating to the science of economics" is from 1835 and now is the main sense, economical retaining the older one of "characterized by thrift."
late 14c., dispensacioun, "power to dispose of," also "act of dispensing or dealing out," also "a relaxation of the law in some particular case," from Old French despensacion (12c., Modern French dispensation) and directly from Latin dispensationem (nominative dispensatio) "management, charge," noun of action from past-participle stem of dispensare "disburse, administer, distribute (by weight)" (see dispense). Related: Dispensational.
Theological sense "method or scheme by which God has developed his purposes and revealed himself to man" (late 14c.) is from the use of the Latin word to translate Greek oikonomoia "office, method of administration" (see economy). Hence "particular period during which a religious system has prevailed" (1640s), with Patriarchal, Mosaic, Christian, etc. Also "a particular distribution (for good or ill) by divine providence" (1650s).
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "clan, social unit above the household."
It forms all or part of: antoecian; bailiwick; Brunswick; diocese; ecology; economy; ecumenical; metic; nasty; parish; parochial; vicinage; vicinity; viking; villa; village; villain; villanelle; -ville; villein; Warwickshire; wick (n.2) "dairy farm."
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit visah "house," vit "dwelling, house, settlement;" Avestan vis "house, village, clan;" Old Persian vitham "house, royal house;" Greek oikos "house;" Latin villa "country house, farm," vicus "village, group of houses;" Lithuanian viešpats "master of the house;" Old Church Slavonic visi "village;" Gothic weihs "village."
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "assign, allot; take."
It forms all or part of: agronomy; anomie; anomy; antinomian; antinomy; astronomer; astronomy; autonomous; autonomy; benumb; Deuteronomy; economy; enumerate; enumeration; gastronomy; heteronomy; innumerable; metronome; namaste; nemesis; nimble; nim; nomad; nomothetic; numb; numeracy; numeral; numerator; numerical; numerology; numerous; numismatic; supernumerary; taxonomy.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek nemein "to deal out," nemesis "just indignation;" Latin numerus "number;" Lithuanian nuoma "rent, interest;" Middle Irish nos "custom, usage;" German nehmen "to take."