destitute

adjective
des·​ti·​tute | \ ˈde-stə-ˌtüt How to pronounce destitute (audio) , -ˌt(y)üt \

Definition of destitute

1 : lacking something needed or desirable a lake destitute of fish
2 : lacking possessions and resources especially : suffering extreme poverty a destitute old man

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Other Words from destitute

destituteness noun

Did you know?

You may be surprised to learn that "destitute" is related to words like "statue," "statute," and even "statistics." The Latin word status, meaning "position" or "state," is the source of these and other English words. Some terms of this family are directly related to "status," while others come to English through "statuere," a Latin derivative of "status" that means "to set up." "Destitute" came from "destituere" ("to abandon" or "to deprive"), a joining of "statuere" and the prefix de- ("from, down, away"). "Statuere" also gave us "constitute," "institute," and "restitution," among other similar-sounding words.

Examples of destitute in a Sentence

His business failures left him destitute. many families were left destitute by the horrible fire
Recent Examples on the Web In promoting the act, Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole, considered the father of the program, referred to the destitute conditions that many families lived in, particularly those in urban tenements. Rob Perez, ProPublica, 7 May 2021 Our daughter developed a very serious drug addiction, was homeless and destitute. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, 10 May 2021 Our daughter developed a very serious drug addiction, was homeless and destitute. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, 10 May 2021 Nearly destitute Mexicans and Central Americans used to dominate the traffic. Dudley Althaus, San Antonio Express-News, 6 May 2021 And around such powerful men, can a teenager from such a destitute area really say no? New York Times, 29 Mar. 2021 Now, its waters flow through a manicured park and recreation area in the center of South Fairmount, long one of Cincinnati’s most destitute neighborhoods. Scott Wartman, The Enquirer, 18 May 2021 Though not wealthy, Miller’s parents were hardly destitute; his mother worked on occasion, and his father eventually opened a firm designing and manufacturing specialty accessory pieces for firearms. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, 22 Apr. 2021 Even people who still have jobs have been left destitute. New York Times, 31 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'destitute.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of destitute

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for destitute

Middle English, from Latin destitutus, past participle of destituere to abandon, deprive, from de- + statuere to set up — more at statute

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Time Traveler for destitute

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The first known use of destitute was in the 14th century

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Statistics for destitute

Last Updated

14 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Destitute.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/destitute. Accessed 17 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for destitute

destitute

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of destitute

: extremely poor
formal + literary : without something that is needed or wanted

destitute

adjective
des·​ti·​tute | \ ˈde-stə-ˌtüt How to pronounce destitute (audio) , -ˌtyüt \

Kids Definition of destitute

1 : lacking something needed or desirable The room was destitute of comforts.
2 : very poor The charity helps destitute people.

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