Synonym Chooser

How is the word poverty distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of poverty are destitution, indigence, penury, and want. While all these words 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

Where would indigence be a reasonable alternative to poverty?

Although the words indigence and poverty have much in common, indigence implies seriously straitened circumstances.

the indigence of her years as a graduate student

When would penury be a good substitute for poverty?

The words penury and poverty 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

How do want and destitution relate to one another, in the sense of poverty?

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 poverty

Cite this Entry

“Poverty.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/poverty. Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

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