poverty

noun, often attributive pov·er·ty \ ˈpä-vər-tē \

Definition of poverty

1 a :the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions
b :renunciation as a member of a religious order of the right as an individual to own property
3 a :debility due to malnutrition
b :lack of fertility

Examples of poverty in a Sentence

  1. He was born in poverty.

  2. There is a poverty of information about the disease.

Recent Examples of poverty from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of poverty

Middle English poverte, from Anglo-French poverté, from Latin paupertat-, paupertas, from pauper poor — more at poor

Synonym Discussion of poverty

poverty, indigence, penury, want, destitution mean the state of one with insufficient resources. poverty may cover a range from extreme want of necessities to an absence of material comforts.
    • the extreme poverty of the slum dwellers
indigence implies seriously straitened circumstances.
    • the indigence of her years as a graduate student
penury suggests a cramping or oppressive lack of money.
    • a catastrophic illness that condemned them to years of penury
want and destitution imply extreme poverty that threatens life itself through starvation or exposure.
    • lived in a perpetual state of want
    • the widespread destitution in countries beset by famine


POVERTY Defined for English Language Learners

poverty

noun

Definition of poverty for English Language Learners

  • : the state of being poor

  • : a lack of something


POVERTY Defined for Kids

poverty

noun pov·er·ty \ ˈpä-vər-tē \

Definition of poverty for Students

:the condition of being poor :lack of money or possessions

Medical Dictionary

poverty

noun pov·er·ty \ ˈpäv-ərt-ē \

medical Definition of poverty

plural poverties
:debility due to malnutrition
  • evidence of poverty in calves


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