pe·​nu·​ri·​ous pə-ˈnu̇r-ē-əs How to pronounce penurious (audio)
: marked by or suffering from penury
penurious peasants and fisherfolk
: given to or marked by extreme stinting frugality
penuriously adverb
penuriousness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for penurious

stingy, close, niggardly, parsimonious, penurious, miserly mean being unwilling or showing unwillingness to share with others.

stingy implies a marked lack of generosity.

a stingy child, not given to sharing

close suggests keeping a tight grip on one's money and possessions.

folks who are very close when charity calls

niggardly implies giving or spending the very smallest amount possible.

the niggardly amount budgeted for the town library

parsimonious suggests a frugality so extreme as to lead to stinginess.

a parsimonious lifestyle notably lacking in luxuries

penurious implies niggardliness that gives an appearance of actual poverty.

the penurious eccentric bequeathed a fortune

miserly suggests a sordid avariciousness and a morbid pleasure in hoarding.

a miserly couple devoid of social conscience

Examples of penurious in a Sentence

The penurious school system had to lay off several teachers. the company's penurious management could not be convinced of the need to earmark more money for research and development
Recent Examples on the Web The book looks beyond Appalachia, concluding the regions in question had been exploited by single industries and white elites, paying poor wages with equally penurious working conditions. Ken Silverstein, Forbes, 13 Aug. 2023 When his sports career petered out, Thorpe kept hustling to make an increasingly penurious living. Jim Higgins, Journal Sentinel, 4 Aug. 2022 Her father had left high school at 14 to support his penurious mother and work as a delivery boy in a cotton trading company. New York Times, 20 Apr. 2022 Beyond its penurious powertrain, the Prime's disinterested driving demeanor extends to its steering, which is light and numb. Joe Lorio, Car and Driver, 8 Apr. 2022 In 1877, when young H.G. (called Bertie) was 11, his father fell off a ladder and began a penurious, cricket-free convalescence. Stephanie Burt, The New Republic, 29 Mar. 2022 Owners will claim that competitive imbalance is on the verge of ruining the game, never mind the 21 World Series participants since 2001 years, including the electively penurious Tampa Bay Rays. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 30 Nov. 2021 An earnest rebuild is underway, but like all before it, the success will be in spite of penurious ownership. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 13 Nov. 2021 That would be their home away from home, Inglewood’s SoFi Stadium, an opulent flat for which penurious tenant Fredo Spanos pays a flat $1-per-year rental fee. Nick Canepa Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Sep. 2021 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of penurious was in 1590

Dictionary Entries Near penurious

Cite this Entry

“Penurious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


pe·​nu·​ri·​ous pə-ˈn(y)u̇r-ē-əs How to pronounce penurious (audio)
: marked by or suffering from penury
: extremely stingy : miserly
penuriously adverb
penuriousness noun
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!