Synonym Chooser

How is the word indigence distinct from other similar nouns?

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

the indigence of her years as a graduate student

When would penury be a good substitute for indigence?

The words penury and indigence are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, penury suggests a cramping or oppressive lack of money.

a catastrophic illness that condemned them to years of penury

In what contexts can poverty take the place of indigence?

In some situations, the words poverty and indigence are roughly equivalent. However, poverty may cover a range from extreme want of necessities to an absence of material comforts.

the extreme poverty of the slum dwellers

How are the words want and destitution related as synonyms of indigence?

Both 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


Thesaurus Entries Near indigence

Cite this Entry

“Indigence.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

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