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What is the difference between "economic" and "economical"?

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3 Answers 3

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Economic and economical can only be synonyms in two senses.

  1. Things relating to the economy. eg. You could speak of economical growth, although economic growth is more common.
  2. Using the minimum amount of effort or resources. eg. You could speak of someone making economical use of their time. Economic would also work in that context.

Otherwise, when you're talking about wealth, financial rewards, or the science of economics, it's always economic. If you mean the sense of thrifty or frugal you would use economical.

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Economic is normally used to describe things of or having to do with economics or the economy.

Economical is more in regards to thriftiness.

However, in more than one source I saw them as definitions of each other.

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Regarding the dictionaries: I think you can take that to mean that the two words have mostly overlapping meanings, but might have some little areas where they differ. –  Kosmonaut Jan 21 '11 at 18:04
    
It's like historic v. historical. –  Seth Johnson Jan 21 '11 at 18:56

If something is economical, it saves money or resources. It's similar in meaning to "not wasteful". Exp:-An economical car uses a minimum amount of gasoline (petrol) to drive a maximum number of miles (kilometers).

The word economic is related to the economy or finances, money matters, or wealth. Exp:-There was a rise in unemployment due to the economic downturn.

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I think you could use economic in your first example. –  ghoppe Jan 21 '11 at 19:26
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Your answer is the verbatim copy of this link. You should refer to your source in your post when you're copying someone else's answer. –  Mehper C. Palavuzlar Jan 21 '11 at 20:35
    
@Mehper thanks i should be. –  vikas Jan 22 '11 at 4:54

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