1. Wise economy in the management of money and other resources; frugality.
2. Vigorous growth of living things, such as plants.
3. Any of several densely tufted plants of the genus Armeria, especially A. maritima, having white to pink flower heads with a funnel-shaped scarious calyx.
4. A savings and loan association, credit union, or savings bank. Also called thrift institution.
intr.v. thrift·ed, thrift·ing, thrifts
To shop in thrift stores, especially for clothing: "I'd hoped the zine would connect all sort of people—[who] understood how much cooler it was to thrift than to buy new junk" (Al Hoff).
[Middle English, prosperity, perhaps from Old Norse, from thrīfask, to thrive; see THRIVE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.