destitute

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adjective des·ti·tute \ ˈdes-tə-ˌtüt , -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

destituteness

noun

destitute was our Word of the Day on 05/24/2009. Hear the podcast!

Examples of destitute in a Sentence

  1. His business failures left him destitute.

  2. many families were left destitute by the horrible fire

Recent Examples of destitute from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of destitute

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



DESTITUTE Defined for English Language Learners

destitute

play
adjective

Definition of destitute for English Language Learners

  • : extremely poor

  • : without something that is needed or wanted


DESTITUTE Defined for Kids

destitute

play
adjective des·ti·tute \ ˈde-stə-ˌtüt , -ˌtyüt \

Definition of destitute for Students

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


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