noun, often attributive \ˈpä-vər-tē\

: the state of being poor

: a lack of something

Full Definition of POVERTY

a :  the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions
b :  renunciation as a member of a religious order of the right as an individual to own property
a :  debility due to malnutrition
b :  lack of fertility

Examples of POVERTY

  1. He was born in poverty.
  2. There is a poverty of information about the disease.

Origin of POVERTY

Middle English poverte, from Anglo-French poverté, from Latin paupertat-, paupertas, from pauper poor — more at poor
First Known Use: 12th century

Synonym Discussion of POVERTY

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>.


noun \ˈpäv-ərt-ē\   (Medical Dictionary)
plural pov·er·ties

Medical Definition of POVERTY

: debility due to malnutrition <evidence of poverty in calves>


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