poor·​house | \ ˈpu̇r-ˌhau̇s How to pronounce poorhouse (audio) , ˈpȯr- \

Definition of poorhouse

: a place maintained at public expense to house needy or dependent persons

Examples of poorhouse in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In 1866, the fledgling city of San Francisco decided to build a four-story poorhouse for unlucky gold rushers. Jay Caspian Kang, The New Yorker, "What the San Francisco Bay Area Can Teach Us About Fighting a Pandemic," 4 Jan. 2021 People who were forced by debt to live in the poorhouse had to subsist on six and half pounds a year, paid from parish taxes. Louis Menand, The New Yorker, "How to Misread Jane Austen," 28 Sep. 2020 On the other hand, a medical emergency could put you in the poorhouse. Kathleen Pender, SFChronicle.com, "Coronavirus shows why you must read travel insurance policy before you buy," 15 Feb. 2020 Don’t evacuate the penthouse and condemn its residents to the poorhouse. Deroy Murdock, National Review, "Wealth: Don’t Lower the Ceiling, Raise the Floor," 24 Jan. 2020 And if that empathy leads to some solutions that don’t put us in the poorhouse, that’s a good thing. Hannah K. Sparling, Cincinnati.com, "'My yard has moved': Landslides are a big, expensive headache for homeowners.," 13 Dec. 2019 Troublingly, there are even many Power 5 programs (see the financial woes at Florida State) that have spent themselves into the poorhouse. Mike Bianchi, orlandosentinel.com, "UConn going broke a cautionary tale for UCF, USF and other Group of 5 schools | Commentary," 3 July 2019 The locations have become perpetual draws for tourists and locals alike, with McMenamins’ distinctive custom artwork transforming once-derelict hotels, poorhouses, schools, lodges and churches – and retail storefronts, as well. Andre Meunier, oregonlive.com, "McMenamins, Oregon’s 1st brewpub, a pioneer still going its own way: Portland Breweries Series," 28 June 2019 In 1854, the county opened a poorhouse and farm and gradually added an insane asylum, infirmary and tuberculosis hospital to the property. Nereida Moreno, latimes.com, "Challenge at Chicago school construction site: Watch for 38,000 unmarked graves," 15 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'poorhouse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of poorhouse

circa 1579, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about poorhouse

Time Traveler for poorhouse

Time Traveler

The first known use of poorhouse was circa 1579

See more words from the same year

Statistics for poorhouse

Last Updated

22 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Poorhouse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/poorhouse. Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for poorhouse



English Language Learners Definition of poorhouse

old-fashioned : a place for poor people to live that is paid for by the taxes, donations, etc., of other people

Comments on poorhouse

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


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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