Economic vs. economical

There are many cases of word pairs such as cyclic and cyclical for which the difference in meaning is minimal. However, there are also similar pairs for which the difference is great. Economic and economical are one such pair.

Economic has to do with the economy, or an economy, be it global, national, or personal: the constant flow of money. Meanwhile, economical refers specifically to something that functions so well that it saves money, so that it is cheap to use. Economical, therefore, has a much more specific meaning than economic.

No: At the summit, the leaders discussed a number of economical issues.

Yes: At the summit, the leaders discussed a number of economic issues.

No: We have decided to trade in our car for a more economic one.

Yes: We have decided to trade in our car for a more economical one.

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