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 somewhat less indigent are asked to pay back between 30% and 70%. The Economist, "How BRAC, the world’s biggest charity, made Bangladesh richer," 5 Sep. 2019 Relatives: Burial fees were 'excessive' Abel Funeral Services, near 51st Avenue and McDowell Road, is one of two funeral homes under contract with Maricopa County to handle indigent burial cases. Anne Ryman, azcentral, "Phoenix funeral home may face discipline after keeping bodies more than 100 days and charging 'excessive' burial fees," 21 Aug. 2019 Of those applicants, 5,493 received a complete waiver of their fees as of July 12 because they were deemed indigent. Peter Krouse,, "Ohio extends amnesty program for drivers with suspended licenses," 18 July 2019 The public defender represents indigent defendants. David Owens,, "Republican lawyer pleads not guilty to stealing campaign funds," 12 Aug. 2019 In the 1960s, city power brokers decided that housing an elderly, indigent population did not represent the highest and best use of the only large tract of flat land available for downtown expansion. Gary Kamiya,, "SF ‘hobohemia’ transformed into Skid Row as jobs and city changed," 10 Aug. 2019 The sculpture’s site, on Venice Beach, means that the work’s authentic public are the homeless and indigent people who spend the most time there. Dana Goodyear, The New Yorker, "Will Los Angeles Lose a Beloved Piece of Public Art?," 9 July 2019 Two clerical employees will take over the indigent burials. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville funerals for people without loved ones nearly lost in city budget tug of war," 3 July 2019 Meanwhile, the indigent villagers where the rhinos are located can make a year’s salary by working with poachers. Mary Ann Grossmann, Twin Cities, "‘Shoot the Bastards’ introduces Vietnamese-American character who lives in Duluth," 16 June 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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Statistics for indigent

Last Updated

18 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for indigent

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on indigent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for indigent

Spanish Central: Translation of indigent

Nglish: Translation of indigent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of indigent for Arabic Speakers

Comments on indigent

What made you want to look up indigent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make a temporary encampment

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