im·​pov·​er·​ish | \ im-ˈpäv-rish How to pronounce impoverish (audio) , -ˈpä-və- \
impoverished; impoverishing; impoverishes

Definition of impoverish

transitive verb

1 : to make poor
2 : to deprive of strength, richness, or fertility by depleting or draining of something essential

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Other Words from impoverish

impoverisher noun
impoverishment \ im-​ˈpäv-​rish-​mənt How to pronounce impoverishment (audio) , -​ˈpä-​və-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for impoverish

deplete, drain, exhaust, impoverish, bankrupt mean to deprive of something essential to existence or potency. deplete implies a reduction in number or quantity so as to endanger the ability to function. depleting our natural resources drain implies a gradual withdrawal and ultimate deprivation of what is necessary to an existence. personal tragedy had drained him of all spirit exhaust stresses a complete emptying. her lecture exhausted the subject impoverish suggests a deprivation of something essential to richness or productiveness. impoverished soil bankrupt suggests impoverishment to the point of imminent collapse. war had bankrupted the nation of resources

Examples of impoverish in a Sentence

The dictator enriched himself but impoverished his people. Poor farming practices impoverished the soil.
Recent Examples on the Web Its mostly Arab population is opposed to Assad, angry with years of neglect that impoverished the area despite its resource wealth. Washington Post, "For east Syria, US troops are about much more than oil," 8 Nov. 2019 Democrats and anti-poverty groups, though, warn that the administration's proposals would further impoverish children, immigrants, and veterans. Nihal Krishan, Washington Examiner, "Food stamp rolls have declined by 7M under Trump even before reforms take effect," 8 Jan. 2020 Johnson, who missed removal by one vote, tried and failed to get the Democratic nomination in 1868, and his historical legacy, already poor, has been further impoverished by his impeachment. Noah Feldman, The New York Review of Books, "Is Trump Above the Law?," 19 Dec. 2019 In fact, Chile has reduced poverty more than most countries in the world, from 31% of its population impoverished in 2000 to 6.4% today, according to the World Bank. Andres Oppenheimer, Twin Cities, "Andres Oppenheimer: Huge protests around the world have things in common, including fake news attacks," 19 Dec. 2019 By the end of the play, the near-homeless Cyrano is impoverished of resources as well as love and that rarely rings true with some Kevin Kline-type swishing and swashing in the role. Chris Jones,, "Review: 'GoT’ star Peter Dinklage is a gruff, edgy ‘Cyrano’ off-Broadway," 7 Nov. 2019 The Census Bureau reported that California still has the highest level of functional poverty of any state, averaging 18.2% of its 40 million residents impoverished during the three preceding years. Dan Walters, The Mercury News, "Walters: California is still No. 1 in poverty," 15 Sep. 2019 The series shows the U.S. citizen who is willing to live in their partner’s country, which sometimes can be impoverished. Washington Post, "Marital bliss or nah: ‘90 Day Fiance’ becomes hit for TLC," 10 Sep. 2019 The series shows the U.S. citizen who is willing to live in their partner's country, which sometimes can be impoverished. Jonathan Landrum Jr.,, "Marital bliss or nah: ’90 Day Fiance’ becomes hit for TLC," 14 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'impoverish.' 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 impoverish

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for impoverish

Middle English enpoverisshen, from Anglo-French empoveriss-, stem of empoverir, from en- + povre poor — more at poor

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Time Traveler for impoverish

Time Traveler

The first known use of impoverish was in the 15th century

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Statistics for impoverish

Last Updated

13 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Impoverish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for impoverish


How to pronounce impoverish (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of impoverish

: to make (someone) poor
: to use up the strength or richness of (something, such as land)


im·​pov·​er·​ish | \ im-ˈpä-və-rish How to pronounce impoverish (audio) \
impoverished; impoverishing

Kids Definition of impoverish

1 : to make poor The greedy tyrant impoverished his people.
2 : to use up the strength or richness of impoverished soil

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More from Merriam-Webster on impoverish

Spanish Central: Translation of impoverish

Nglish: Translation of impoverish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of impoverish for Arabic Speakers

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