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penury

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noun pen·u·ry \ˈpen-yə-rē\

Simple Definition of penury

  • : the state of being very poor : extreme poverty

Full Definition of penury

  1. 1 :  a cramping and oppressive lack of resources (as money); especially :  severe poverty

  2. 2 :  extreme and often niggardly frugality

Examples of penury

  1. <lived in a time when single women like herself faced a lifetime of genteel penury>



Origin of penury

Middle English, from Latin penuria, paenuria want; perhaps akin to Latin paene almost


First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of penury

poverty, indigence, penury, want, destitution mean the state of one with insufficient resources. poverty may cover a range from extreme want of necessities to an absence of material comforts <the extreme poverty of the slum dwellers>. indigence implies seriously straitened circumstances <the indigence of her years as a graduate student>. penury suggests a cramping or oppressive lack of money <a catastrophic illness that condemned them to years of penury>. want and destitution imply extreme poverty that threatens life itself through starvation or exposure <lived in a perpetual state of want> <the widespread destitution in countries beset by famine>.


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