in·​di·​gent | \ ˈin-di-jənt How to pronounce indigent (audio) \

Definition of indigent

1 : suffering from extreme poverty : impoverished
2a archaic : deficient
b archaic : totally lacking in something specified

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Other Words from indigent

indigent noun

Examples of indigent in a Sentence

… every day, I fled the house and drove aimlessly over mountain roads that passed by indigent farms and strange, unpainted churches. — Mark Singer, New Yorker, 25 Dec. 2000 & 1 Jan. 2001 A land post was offered him in November, 1765, as Governor of Greenwich Hospital, a shelter for disabled and indigent seamen and a place affording many openings for jobbery (the contemporary term for bureaucratic graft). — Barbara W. Tuchman, The First Salute, 1988 He went around climbing dark stairs and knocking on doors and taking flash photos of indigent families in their dwellings. — E. L. Doctorow, Ragtime, (1974) 1975 Because he was indigent, the court appointed a lawyer to defend him. The clinic provides free care for indigent patients.
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Recent Examples on the Web The school district said historical city and genealogical records suggested that Ridgewood Cemetery, an indigent cemetery that spans one acre, was on the property of King High School. Sanya Mansoor, Time, "145 Coffins From Lost African-American Cemetery Discovered Under Florida High School," 21 Nov. 2019 Volunteers collected used goods and clothing in affluent parts of town, and the ministry paid indigent individuals to mend them and sell them to the poor at nominal prices. Jonathan M. Pitts,, "Maryland’s Goodwill chapter expanding — and evolving — a century later," 18 Oct. 2019 There would be 21 more names on that TV monitor, and all but two would be represented by Conners or another colleague at some point by virtue of their indigent status. Rubén Rosario, Twin Cities, "Rosario: When it comes to caseload and pay, public defenders are still behind the 8-ball," 6 Oct. 2019 Some were estranged from their families; others were indigent. Lois K. Solomon,, "Veterans’ unclaimed cremains buried during South Florida ceremony | Photos," 6 Nov. 2019 Past practices of an over-reliance on citations are costly, redirect vital resources away from significant crimes and disproportionately impact working class, juvenile, immigrant, and indigent populations. Phil Matier,, "What’s the answer to quality-of-life crimes in SF. DA candidates give answers," 27 Oct. 2019 Battle has relatively few convictions but a lengthy history of arrests, mostly for the kind of misdemeanor nuisance offenses that often follow the homeless or indigent: panhandling, trespassing, disorderly conduct. Megan Crepeau,, "Trial into killing of off-duty Chicago cop begins with defendant representing himself: ‘I’m not coming in here to lose’," 14 Aug. 2019 Bolden said any of the lawyers' expenses over the $50,000 will be covered by public funds under the federal Criminal Justice Act, which pays legal fees for indigent defendants. Dave Collins,, "Taxpayers will foot legal bills for once wealthy and politically connected developer," 3 Sep. 2019 In a public meeting last year, McBride attributed the delays to the Maricopa County Public Fiduciary's time-consuming review to decide whether individuals are eligible for indigent burial funds. Anne Ryman, azcentral, "Phoenix funeral home may face discipline after keeping bodies more than 100 days and charging 'excessive' burial fees," 21 Aug. 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for indigent

Middle English, from Middle French, from Old French, from Latin indigent-, indigens, present participle of indigēre to need, from Old Latin indu + Latin egēre to need; perhaps akin to Old High German echerode poor

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Time Traveler for indigent

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for indigent

Last Updated

11 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Indigent.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 14 December 2019.

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More Definitions for indigent


How to pronounce indigent (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of indigent

formal : lacking money : very poor


in·​di·​gent | \ ˈin-də-jənt How to pronounce indigent (audio) \

Legal Definition of indigent

: suffering from indigence the indigent defendant was provided with counsel

Other Words from indigent

indigent noun

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