pit·​tance | \ ˈpi-tᵊn(t)s How to pronounce pittance (audio) \

Definition of pittance

: a small portion, amount, or allowance also : a meager wage or remuneration

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Did You Know?

It's a pity when you haven't anything but a pittance. And in fact, "pity" and "pittance" share etymological roots. The Middle English word pittance came from Anglo-French pitance, meaning "pity" or "piety." Originally, a "pittance" was a gift or bequest to a religious community, or a small charitable gift. Ultimately, the word comes from the Latin pietas, meaning "piety" or "compassion." Our words "pity" and "piety" come from "pietas" as well.

Examples of pittance in a Sentence

the internship offers only a pittance for a salary, but it is a great opportunity to gain experience

Recent Examples on the Web

One of the most baffling elements of the summer window was no club swooping in for Alderweireld, who only had a £25m release clause - a pittance in this day and age for a player of his quality. SI.com, "8 Tottenham Hotspur Players Who Could Still Leave This Summer," 20 Aug. 2019 As is often the case in a class-action lawsuit settlement, consumers — the folks who bear the brunt of whatever corporate misdeed that is uncovered — get a pittance. Michelle Singletary, Washington Post, "Lawyers representing consumers in the Equifax settlement could get up to $77.5 million. Is that fair?," 8 Aug. 2019 That means the millions who had their data hijacked but not yet abused could get a pittance. Hiawatha Bray, BostonGlobe.com, "The Equifax settlement: Is there anything in it for you?," 30 July 2019 As a petty trader earning a pittance from trading car engine oil at bustling Ajegunle market in Nigeria's economic capital, Lagos, Oluwaseyi does not earn enough to cover the annual 18,000 naira (around $50) school fees. Valentine Iwenwanne And Aisha Salaudeen, CNN, "The school where parents pay tuition fees with plastic bottles," 27 June 2019 And in class-action suits like what the plaintiffs are seeking, claimants usually collect a pittance next to what the lawyers take in. WSJ, "Even Cracker Consumers Are Entitled to Clarity," 25 Dec. 2018 According to former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign, his health care plan, which builds on Obamacare, would cost the country $750 billion over 10 years, a pittance compared to the Sanders/Warren bill. David Winston, Twin Cities, "David Winston: Taxing the rich won’t pay for Democratic promises," 10 Sep. 2019 Time and again, the money extracted from the tech giants amounts to a pittance. Wired, "Fines Alone Aren't Enough to Slow Down Big Tech," 4 Sep. 2019 Still, almost no one has a 5G phone yet and 70 venues, even big ones like the Oculus at the World Trade Center in New York City, seem like a pittance in the context of the global wireless market. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Questions Galore as Peloton Pedals Towards the Public Market—Data Sheet," 28 Aug. 2019

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

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pittance

Middle English pitance, from Anglo-French, piety, pity, dole, portion, from Medieval Latin pietantia, from pietant-, pietans, present participle of pietari to be charitable, from Latin pietas piety — more at pity

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Dictionary Entries near pittance

pit stop







Statistics for pittance

Last Updated

15 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for pittance

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

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English Language Learners Definition of pittance

: a very small amount of money

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More from Merriam-Webster on pittance

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pittance

Spanish Central: Translation of pittance

Nglish: Translation of pittance for Spanish Speakers

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