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[im-pov-er-isht, -pov-risht] /ɪmˈpɒv ər ɪʃt, -ˈpɒv rɪʃt/
reduced to poverty.
(of a country, area, etc.) having few trees, flowers, birds, wild animals, etc.
deprived of strength, vitality, creativeness, etc.:
an impoverished attempt at humor.
Origin of impoverished
1625-35; impoverish + -ed2
Related forms
unimpoverished, adjective
1. See poor.


[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.
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 impoverished
  • Even among impoverished populations, the ones that are miserable tend to be those with a few ultra-rich people among lots of poor.
  • And the remaining vegetation would regress to a far simpler, impoverished condition.
  • What troubles me is how much our cultural conversation is being impoverished by a reluctance to face up to reality.
  • The overcrowded, polluted, impoverished world from before was a joy compared with the daily nightmare you now endure.
  • As some have pointed out in this thread, government corruption runs rampant in many impoverished nations.
  • Children in impoverished countries will die in the time it takes to write this post here.
  • One cannot expect those raised in impoverished conditions to give a whit on the finer aspects of the working of nature.
  • It's difficult to talk to someone with such an impoverished, boring, and primitive mindset.
  • Briefly they triumphed, raising hopes among the impoverished local peasantry and gathering a group of supporters.
  • He leaves behind a country that is rich in cash and resources, but socially fragmented and intellectually impoverished.
British Dictionary definitions for impoverished


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 impoverished



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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