Thesaurus

poverty

noun

Synonyms & Antonyms of poverty

1 the state of lacking sufficient money or material possessions
  • he dreamed of finding a good job and working his way out of poverty and debt

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2 a falling short of an essential or desirable amount or number
  • a poverty of information about the new policies

Synonyms for poverty

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Antonyms for poverty

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Frequently Asked Questions About poverty

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

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Time Traveler for poverty

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

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Cite this Entry

“Poverty.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/poverty. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on poverty

Dictionary: Definition of poverty

Medical Dictionary: Definition of poverty

Nglish: Translation of poverty for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of poverty for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about poverty

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