9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[im-pov-er-ish, -pov-rish] /ɪmˈpɒv ər ɪʃ, -ˈpɒv rɪʃ/
verb (used with object)
to reduce to poverty:
a country impoverished by war.
to make poor in quality, productiveness, etc.; exhaust the strength or richness of:
Bad farming practices impoverished the soil.
Origin of impoverish
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English empoverishen < Middle French empovriss- (long stem of empovrir), equivalent to em- em-1 + povre poor + -iss -ish2
Related forms
impoverisher, noun
impoverishment, noun
2. deplete, drain; weaken, enervate, fatigue, cripple.
1, 2. enrich. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for impoverish
  • If they had a goal, it was selfish-an attempt to impoverish the emerging world through protectionism.
  • Conflict may impoverish populations, increase the availability of weapons and debilitate rulers.
  • While a tax on gasoline will impoverish people, it won't reduce consumption of gasoline much at all.
  • It has never been dairy farmers' intent to impoverish processors.
  • If re not indexed for inflation, inflation may impoverish annuitants receiving a steady stream of decreasingly valuable dollars.
  • And that, ultimately, that would impoverish everyone.
British Dictionary definitions for impoverish


verb (transitive)
to make poor or diminish the quality of: to impoverish society by cutting the grant to the arts
to deprive (soil, etc) of fertility
Derived Forms
impoverisher, noun
impoverishment, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Old French empovrir, from povrepoor
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for impoverish

early 15c., empoverischen, from Old French empoveriss-, stem of empoverir, from em- + povre "poor" (see poor). Related: Impoverished; impoverishing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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