- Poverty is the state of being poor, having little money or being in need of a specific quality.
An example of poverty is the state a person is in when he is homeless and has no money or assets.
- the condition or quality of being poor; indigence; need
- deficiency in necessary properties or desirable qualities, or in a specific quality, etc.; inadequacy: poverty of the soil, her poverty of imagination
- smallness in amount; scarcity; paucity
Origin of povertyMiddle English poverte ; from Old French povreté ; from Classical Latin paupertas ; from pauper, poor
- The state of being poor; lack of the means of providing material needs or comforts.
- Deficiency in amount; scantiness: “the poverty of feeling that reduced her soul” (Scott Turow).
- Unproductiveness; infertility: the poverty of the soil.
- Renunciation made by a member of a religious order of the right to own property.
Origin of povertyMiddle English poverte, from Old French, from Latin paupertās, from pauper, poor; see pau-1 in Indo-European roots.
beggarism 1. Rare. the state of beggarhood. 2. behavior characteristic of a beggar. pauperism the state or condition of utter poverty. Also called pauperage. peniaphobia an abnormal fear of poverty. penury extreme poverty or destitution. —penurious, adj. Poplarism British. 1. a policy in local governments of providing relief for the poor, often excessive in amount. 2. any similar policy of government spending that leads to higher taxes. —Poplarist, n. ptochocracy a form of rule by beggars or the poor. ptochology the scientific study of pauperism, unemployment, etc. slumism the development and growth of slums or substandard dwelling conditions in urban areas.
(usually uncountable, plural poverties)