Dictionary

impoverish

verb im·pov·er·ish \im-ˈpäv-rish, -ˈpä-və-\

: to make (someone) poor

: to use up the strength or richness of (something, such as land)

Full Definition of IMPOVERISH

transitive verb
1
:  to make poor
2
:  to deprive of strength, richness, or fertility by depleting or draining of something essential
im·pov·er·ish·er noun
im·pov·er·ish·ment \-mənt\ noun
ADVERTISEMENT

Examples of IMPOVERISH

  1. The dictator enriched himself but impoverished his people.
  2. Poor farming practices impoverished the soil.

Origin of IMPOVERISH

Middle English enpoverisshen, from Anglo-French empoveriss-, stem of empoverir, from en- + povre poor — more at poor
First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of IMPOVERISH

deplete, drain, exhaust, impoverish, bankrupt mean to deprive of something essential to existence or potency. deplete implies a reduction in number or quantity so as to endanger the ability to function <depleting our natural resources>. drain implies a gradual withdrawal and ultimate deprivation of what is necessary to an existence <personal tragedy had drained him of all spirit>. exhaust stresses a complete emptying <her lecture exhausted the subject>. impoverish suggests a deprivation of something essential to richness or productiveness <impoverished soil>. bankrupt suggests impoverishment to the point of imminent collapse <war had bankrupted the nation of resources>.
IMPOVERISHMENT Defined for Kids

impoverish

verb im·pov·er·ish \im-ˈpä-və-rish\
im·pov·er·ishedim·pov·er·ish·ing

Definition of IMPOVERISH for Kids

1
:  to make poor <The greedy tyrant impoverished his people.>
2
:  to use up the strength or richness of <impoverished soil>

Browse

Next Word in the Dictionary: impoverishedPrevious Word in the Dictionary: impoundmentAll Words Near: impoverish
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears