pen·​ni·​less | \ ˈpe-ni-ləs How to pronounce penniless (audio) \

Definition of penniless

: destitute of money

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Examples of penniless in a Sentence

She was unemployed and penniless. went from being a penniless girl to owner of her own restaurant
Recent Examples on the Web James, an undisputed master who notoriously refused to bow to the system, died penniless in squalor at the Chelsea Hotel. Jessica Iredale, Town & Country, "Ralph Rucci: The Rise, and Fall and Rise Again of an American Couturier," 7 Aug. 2019 In Silicon Valley, where penniless programmers fervently believe their ideas are worth billions, getting rich can take priority over getting married., "A prenup is the latest must-have for tech startup founders in love," 11 Oct. 2019 Harry Jarvis is Charlie, a piano player who lives in the kind of artfully decrepit one-person apartment that — sorry, kids — hasn't been an option for penniless newcomers to Gotham in several decades. John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter, "'High Strung Free Dance': Film Review," 8 Oct. 2019 More Stories The film picks up Garland’s story in the late 1960s after her disastrous divorce from the promoter Mark Herron, which, combined with her previous split from the producer Sidney Luft (Rufus Sewell), left her nearly penniless. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Renée Zellweger’s Performance Is the Best Part of Judy," 26 Sep. 2019 Two buddies travel to Mexico to rescue their friend after a carjacker leaves him naked, penniless and stranded in the desert. Los Angeles Times, "Here are the feature and TV films airing the week of Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019," 11 Aug. 2019 Robben and Diarra leaving didn't age well, neither did the purchase and penniless release of Veron., "Ranking Every Chelsea Summer Transfer Window Since 2002," 10 Aug. 2019 As recently as the 2011/12 season both of the city’s league clubs found themselves in the third tier and practically penniless., "Sheffield United's Premier League Return Can Reinvigorate Football in the Steel City," 13 July 2019 Some of our deepest satisfaction as a country comes from watching penniless immigrants arrive on our shores, buy into our values and thrive. Joey Morona,, "Ilhan Omar says Fox News’ Tucker Carlson is ‘a racist fool’ after he called her living proof U.S. immigration laws are ‘dangerous’," 10 July 2019

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

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for penniless

Time Traveler

The first known use of penniless was in the 14th century

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Statistics for penniless

Last Updated

26 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Penniless.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for penniless


How to pronounce penniless (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of penniless

: having no money : very poor


pen·​ni·​less | \ ˈpe-ni-ləs How to pronounce penniless (audio) \

Kids Definition of penniless

: very poor : having no money

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More from Merriam-Webster on penniless

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for penniless

Spanish Central: Translation of penniless

Nglish: Translation of penniless for Spanish Speakers

Comments on penniless

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


not to be intimidated or subdued

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