Middle English poverte, from Anglo-French poverté, from Latin paupertat-, paupertas, from pauper poor
- Date: 12th century
- 1 a : the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions
- b : renunciation as a member of a religious order of the right as an individual to own property
- 2 : scarcity, dearth
- 3 a : debility due to malnutrition
- b : lack of fertility
indigence, penury, want, destitution 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>. indigence implies seriously straitened circumstances <the indigence of her years as a graduate student>. penury suggests a cramping or oppressive lack of money <a catastrophic illness that condemned them to years of penury>. 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>.
Poverty is the state of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution refers to the deprivation of basic human needs, which commonly includes food, water, sanitation, clothing, shelter, health care and education. Relative poverty is defined contextually as economic inequality in the location or society in which people live.