Etymology of Economy

Learner’s Dictionary defines economy as the system by which goods and services are bought, sold and produced in any region or country. It can also signify the cautious management of money, as well as something that enables you to spend less money.


Economy‘s etymology started with the Latin oeconomia, traveled to the combination of Greek words oikos (house or home or residence or dwelling or abode) and nemein (manage); thus, it arrived at the Greek oikonomia (literally means household management).

From there, oikonomia became the source of the word economy in most modern languages.

English derived economy from the French économie.

Latin, Greek and Other Languages

In Latin, oeconomia and oeconomiae can be defined as economy (economies), section (sections) or arrangement (arrangements).

In Greek, oeconomia is written οἰκονομία; oikos is written οἶκος.

Economy in Greek is οικονομία; in Spanish it’s economía; in Dutch: economie; in Portuguese: economia; in Turkish: ekonomi; in Italian: economia; in French: économie; in German: ökonomie; in Swedish: ekonomi.


Barnhart, Robert K., ed., Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology, H.W. Wilson Co., 1988.

Buck, Carl Darling, A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages, University of Chicago, 1949, reprinted 1988.

Liberman, Anatoly, Analytic Dictionary of English Etymology, University of Minnesota Press, 2008.

Liddell, Henry George, and Robert Scott, eds., Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, Oxford Univ. Press, 1883.