pau·​per ˈpȯ-pər How to pronounce pauper (audio)
: a person destitute of means except such as are derived from charity
specifically : one who receives aid from funds designated for the poor
paupers on welfare
: a very poor person
you'll end up a pauper on skid rowRobert Bixby
pauperism noun

Examples of pauper in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web During Victorian times, paupers in workhouses who became ill could be cared for only by other destitute workhouse residents. Melissa Pritchard, Discover Magazine, 24 May 2024 After his body went unclaimed for months, the Hinds County coroner’s office had Wade buried in a pauper’s field on the grounds of the county jail work farm, his grave marked only by a number. Jon Schuppe, NBC News, 4 Apr. 2024 Burial in a pauper’s grave has historically conveyed a harsh judgment on a life lived. Dan Barry, New York Times, 7 Mar. 2024 Both included searchable lists of people buried in Hinds County’s pauper’s field. Jon Schuppe, NBC News, 22 Feb. 2024 Civil rights attorney Ben Crump is calling for a federal investigation on behalf of the families of 215 people found buried in a pauper’s cemetery behind a jail near Jackson, Mississippi without their relatives’ knowledge. Melissa Noel, Essence, 17 Jan. 2024 Officials in Jackson, Mississippi, have come under fire this year for a string of cases, revealed by NBC News, in which the Hinds County coroner buried people in a pauper’s cemetery without notifying their families. Mike Hixenbaugh, NBC News, 19 Dec. 2023 Crump wants to know why officials failed to investigate these deaths and did not try to contact next of kin, rather than burying them in a pauper’s grave near a dirt road by the Hinds County Penal Farm, which is about 15 miles west of downtown Jackson. Melissa Noel, Essence, 17 Jan. 2024 Well, in the portal’s early weeks, the Bruins have been closer to paupers given all the transfer targets who committed elsewhere. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 19 Dec. 2023

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

Word History


Latin, poor — more at poor

First Known Use

1516, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of pauper was in 1516

Dictionary Entries Near pauper

Cite this Entry

“Pauper.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


pau·​per ˈpȯ-pər How to pronounce pauper (audio)
: a very poor person
especially : one supported by charity
pauperism noun

Legal Definition


pau·​per ˈpȯ-pər How to pronounce pauper (audio)
: a person who is destitute and relying on charity
specifically : a person who is relieved of the costs and expenses of a court proceeding because of poverty

More from Merriam-Webster on pauper

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