impoverish

verb im·pov·er·ish \ im-ˈpäv-rish , -ˈpä-və- \

Definition of impoverish

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

impoverisher

noun

impoverishment

play \im-ˈpäv-rish-mənt, -ˈpä-və-\ noun

Examples of impoverish in a Sentence

  1. The dictator enriched himself but impoverished his people.

  2. Poor farming practices impoverished the soil.

Recent Examples of impoverish from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of impoverish

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

IMPOVERISH Defined for English Language Learners

impoverish

verb

Definition of impoverish for English Language Learners

  • : to make (someone) poor

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


IMPOVERISH Defined for Kids

impoverish

verb im·pov·er·ish \ im-ˈpä-və-rish \

Definition of impoverish for Students

impoverished; impoverishing
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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