poverty

noun, often attributive
pov·​er·​ty | \ ˈpä-vər-tē How to pronounce poverty (audio) \

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

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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

The film, directed by Thomas Morgan and executive-produced by actress Susan Sarandon, focuses on refugee and entrepreneur Mariam Shaar, who refused to give up her dreams against overwhelming odds of poverty and patriarchy. Ruth Sowby Rands, latimes.com, "On the Town: Nonprofit expo makes impressive debut in Glendale," 10 June 2019 Both are historically black neighborhoods plagued with poverty. Sharon Coolidge, Cincinnati.com, "Takeaways we learned from a visit to Orlando MLS stadium/community just like FC Cincinnati's," 9 June 2019 Nigerians have rarely held back criticism of the elites who blame the masses for their own poverty and illnesses. Shobana Shankar, Quartz Africa, "What the United States could learn from Nigeria about taking on anti-vaxxers," 7 June 2019 That Central Americans are emigrating is hardly Mexico’s fault: the vast majority are fleeing droughts, poverty and violence in Honduras, El Salvador and, especially, Guatemala. The Economist, "Mexico has little choice but to placate Donald Trump," 6 June 2019 Nearly 13% of children ages 5 to 17 in that county live in poverty, according to 2017 census data. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "A School Is Turning Its Leftover Cafeteria Food Into Frozen Take-Home Meals for Kids," 5 Apr. 2019 With most residents living in poverty, many in the heavily Latino community don’t own a car. Melody Warnick, Woman's Day, "These Small-Town Heroes Are Helping Their Communities Thrive," 2 Apr. 2019 As a young child, Carrie Sheffield lived in poverty. WSJ, "Secrets of Wealthy Women: How Carrie Sheffield Changed Her View of Money," 22 Mar. 2019 In addition to its crime rate, nearly a quarter of its residents live in poverty. Jillian Weinberger, Vox, "Greater Baltimore is starkly segregated by race and class. A housing program is trying to change that.," 30 Nov. 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.

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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

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Learn More about poverty

Dictionary Entries near poverty

pouty

POV

poverish

poverty

poverty grass

poverty line

poverty pine

Statistics for poverty

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for poverty

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

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More Definitions for poverty

poverty

noun

English Language Learners Definition of poverty

: the state of being poor
formal : a lack of something

poverty

noun
pov·​er·​ty | \ ˈpä-vər-tē How to pronounce poverty (audio) \

Kids Definition of poverty

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

poverty

noun
pov·​er·​ty | \ ˈpäv-ərt-ē How to pronounce poverty (audio) \
plural poverties

Medical Definition of poverty

: debility due to malnutrition evidence of poverty in calves

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