penury was our Word of the Day on 05/24/2008. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of penury in a Sentence
lived in a time when single women like herself faced a lifetime of genteel penury
Recent Examples of penury from the Web
The penury of workers has led several retailers to raise wages and benefits.
Today government benefits and pension payments spare people the horrible choice between moving or penury.
One key finding: Most of the progress was not bought by donors, but came organically as hundreds of millions of people scrambled out of the most abject tiers of penury.
No democratic government could ever plunge its people into penury and hope to stay in power.
In a time of digital penury, nobody wants to discourage journalistic enterprise, but a new risk reveals itself: Look at how the Post festoons its report with what can only be called marketing—graphics, video and charts out the wazoo.
Before now, the concerns of the associate professor of politics at Drexel University trended mainly to spreading the gospel of the Bolivarian Revolution, the disaster that has reduced Venezuela to penury and violence.
If Social Security—a venerable entitlement that has spared millions from penury—bears some resemblance to a Ponzi scheme, then perhaps Ponzi principles are not always as diabolical as the name suggests.
Hudson at first found only penury and illness, a bearded figure in threadbare clothes, impoverished and solitary, attempting to eke out life as a writer.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'penury.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
The exact meaning of "penury" (from Latin penuria, meaning "want") can vary a bit from context to context. It sometimes has had a broad sense of "lack" or "scarcity," as when one character remarks on another's "penury of conversation" in Jane Austen's Emma. It can also mean "frugality," as in Edith Wharton's description of an excessively thrifty hostess in The Age of Innocence: "Her relatives considered that the penury of her table discredited the Mingott name, which had always been associated with good living." The most common sense of "penury," however, is simply "poverty," as in Shakespeare's As You Like It: "Shall I keep your hogs, and eat husks with them? What prodigal portion have I spent that I should come to such penury?"
Origin and Etymology of penury
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of penury
- the extreme poverty of the slum dwellers
- the indigence of her years as a graduate student
- a catastrophic illness that condemned them to years of penury
- lived in a perpetual state of want
- the widespread destitution in countries beset by famine
PENURY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of penury for English Language Learners
: the state of being very poor : extreme poverty
Seen and Heard
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