Synonym Chooser

How is the word destitution distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of destitution are indigence, penury, poverty, and want. While all these words mean "the state of one with insufficient resources," 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

When might indigence be a better fit than destitution?

While the synonyms indigence and destitution are close in meaning, indigence implies seriously straitened circumstances.

the indigence of her years as a graduate student

When could penury be used to replace destitution?

The meanings of penury and destitution largely overlap; however, penury suggests a cramping or oppressive lack of money.

a catastrophic illness that condemned them to years of penury

When can poverty be used instead of destitution?

The synonyms poverty and destitution are sometimes interchangeable, but poverty may cover a range from extreme want of necessities to an absence of material comforts.

the extreme poverty of the slum dwellers

Thesaurus Entries Near destitution

Cite this Entry

“Destitution.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2024.

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