- 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.
poverty definition by Webster's New World
- 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: Middle English poverte ; from Old French povreté ; from Classical Latin paupertas ; from pauper, poor
poverty definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- 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: Middle English poverte, from Old French, from Latin paupertās, from pauper, poor; see pau-1 in Indo-European roots.