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 million dollars a year for the naming rights on a stadium next to a major freeway with a pro team — and for the first year, at least, two pro teams — is a pittance. Daniel Borenstein, The Mercury News, "Borenstein: Coliseum CEO’s brazen self-dealing potentially illegal," 26 Aug. 2019 At a projected total cost of about $50 million, the Project Blue satellite is a pittance as compared with the $9-billion budget of the James Webb Space Telescope. Corey S. Powell, Scientific American, "The Hunt Is on for Alpha Centauri’s Planets," 5 Aug. 2019 Looking at every historical occurrence where such a concept has been tried shows that the redistribution goes mostly to those doing the redistribution, and pittance enough to keep them quiet goes to the citizens. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Private-public partnership for U.S. 36 was a mistake (7/17/19)," 18 July 2019 There were only two home runs — by Texas’ Joey Gallo and Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon — a relative pittance for the modern era. Andy Mccullough, latimes.com, "American League wins a non-juicy All-Star Game," 9 July 2019 Just $22 billion a year is spent globally on clean energy R&D. That is a pittance — a drop in the bucket of the $600 billion in annual military spending in the US alone. David Roberts, Vox, "The climate change policy with the most potential is the most neglected," 11 July 2019 The donation is a pittance for AT&T, with $19.4 billion in profit last year. Washington Post, "DirecTV owner backs free streaming service Locast as hedge," 27 June 2019 Plus, Charbono grapes sell for a pittance compared with neighboring Cab vines: $3,649 per ton versus $7,854 in 2018. Esther Mobley, SFChronicle.com, "The fight to keep alive Charbono, Napa’s nearly extinct heritage grape," 26 June 2019 City leaders did the right thing years ago by paying $2 million, a pittance by today’s standards, to put an easement on that land. The Denver Post Editorial Board, The Denver Post, "Editorial: Denver’s leaders must win this land battle for 155 acres of parkland," 24 June 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

3 Sep 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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one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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