im·​pe·​cu·​nious ˌim-pi-ˈkyü-nyəs How to pronounce impecunious (audio)
: having very little or no money usually habitually : penniless
impecuniously adverb
impecuniousness noun

Did you know?

If impecunious means "penniless," then it stands to reason that "pecunious" can describe someone who has a lot of money. That is true, but "pecunious" is used with far less frequency in English than its opposite and is not found in many dictionaries. What's more, on the rare occasion when "pecunious" is put to use in English, it often means not "wealthy" but "miserly or ungenerous," as in "a pecunious attitude toward the less fortunate." "Impecunious" describes somebody who lacks the money to buy necessities, but it does not carry the connotation of desperation found in such words as "indigent" or "destitute." Both "pecunious" and "impecunious" derive via Middle English from the Latin pecunia, meaning "money."

Examples of impecunious in a Sentence

they were so impecunious that they couldn't afford to give one another even token Christmas gifts
Recent Examples on the Web Even the Kremlin’s own human rights council had denounced the charges as unwarranted, adding its voice to a chorus of support for Prokopyeva in what became a battle of wills between an impecunious local reporter and Russia’s powerful security apparatus. Andrew Higgins,, 6 July 2020 His half-Danish father, Prince Andrew, second in line to the Greek throne, was sentenced to death after the army was defeated in Smyrna by the Turks, saved only by the intervention of George V. In 1930, after eight years of impecunious exile in Paris, the family dispersed. Moira Hodgson, WSJ, 4 Dec. 2020 However, the amateurs Tracksmith has in mind are not so much the impecunious would-be professionals of the past but today’s hardcore hobbyists—the bane of every relaxed camping trip. Martin Fritz Huber, Outside Online, 11 Jan. 2021 Among them is the sardonic confidant, St. Quentin; the down-at-the-heels military man, Major Brutt; and the impecunious, high-living chancer, Eddie. Washington Post, 18 Nov. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'impecunious.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


in- entry 1 + obsolete English pecunious rich, from Middle English, from Latin pecuniosus, from pecunia money — more at fee

First Known Use

1596, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of impecunious was in 1596


Dictionary Entries Near impecunious

Cite this Entry

“Impecunious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


im·​pe·​cu·​nious ˌim-pi-ˈkyü-nyəs How to pronounce impecunious (audio)
: having little or no money
impecuniousness noun

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