poverty

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

Definition of poverty

1a : 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
3a : debility due to malnutrition
b : lack of fertility

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of poverty in a Sentence

He was born in poverty. There is a poverty of information about the disease.

Recent Examples on the Web

And the admin of wealth feels very different than the admin of poverty. Elizabeth Emens, WSJ, "The Stickiness of ‘Life Admin’," 30 Dec. 2018 The operator connected the Wade family to Hopelink, an agency that serves the Eastside and North King County with programs aimed at stabilizing families in economic distress, and transitioning households out of poverty. Katherine Long, The Seattle Times, "A Kirkland mother’s anguished phone call brings help she never imagined," 9 Dec. 2018 Many are accusing Golden Goose of glorifying poverty while still attempting to turn a significant profit. Mekita Rivas, Allure, "The Internet Is Dragging These $530-Dollar Sneakers That Look Like They're Taped Together," 20 Sep. 2018 Chicago sets up universal income task force as city seeks ways to tackle poverty. Fox News, "FOX NEWS FIRST: 'Monster' Florence could bring historic flooding; McConnell warns GOP faces midterm 'knife fight'," 12 Sep. 2018 Their paper explored why people experiencing poverty make certain decisions, like excessive borrowing. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Social science has a complicated, infinitely tricky replication crisis," 28 Aug. 2018 Not long after Clinton unpacked his things in Chappaqua, his successor was presiding over a sputtering economy, increased poverty, and yawning deficits. Neil Swidey, BostonGlobe.com, "How Democrats would be better off if Bill Clinton had never been president," 10 July 2018 North Carolina should continue the fight to end poverty. charlotteobserver, "Ashley Christensen," 3 July 2018 Before the recent controversy,McAllen already had networks in place to help immigrants, many of them coming seeking asylum from Central America, fleeing violence, gangs, and crushing poverty. Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, "Volunteers flock to help immigrant children: 'There is love out there'," 25 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of poverty

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for poverty

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about poverty

Dictionary Entries near poverty

pouty

POV

poverish

poverty

poverty grass

poverty line

poverty pine

Statistics for poverty

Last Updated

11 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for poverty

The first known use of poverty was in the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for poverty

poverty

noun

English Language Learners Definition of poverty

: the state of being poor

: a lack of something

poverty

noun
pov·​er·​ty | \ ˈpä-vər-tē \

Kids Definition of poverty

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

poverty

noun
pov·​er·​ty | \ ˈpäv-ərt-ē \
plural poverties

Medical Definition of poverty

: debility due to malnutrition evidence of poverty in calves

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on poverty

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

WORD OF THE DAY

important, real, or meaningful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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