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[in-di-juh nt] /ˈɪn dɪ dʒənt/
lacking food, clothing, and other necessities of life because of poverty; needy; poor; impoverished.
  1. deficient in what is requisite.
  2. destitute (usually followed by of).
a person who is indigent.
Origin of indigent
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin indigent- (stem of indigēns) present participle of indigēre to need, lack, be poor, equivalent to ind- by-form of in- in-2 (cf. indagate) + -ig- (combining form of egēre to need, lack) + -ent- -ent
Related forms
indigently, adverb
Can be confused
indigence, indigents.
indigent, indignant.
1. necessitous, penurious, distressed. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for indigent
  • It was his first care to provide for the relief of the indigent, and his first visits were made to the hospitals and poor.
  • Depending on how he was fixed at any given time, a third to a half of his cases he was handling for free for indigent clients.
  • Far from indigent, he dressed well, drove fast cars and within a few months was breaking course records.
  • But the history of our orphanages, and of our treatment of homeless and indigent children, has not always been commendable.
  • Uncontrolled inflation strangles growth, hurting the entire populace but, especially the indigent.
  • However, if you are divorced, he might be eligible for more government benefits if he is legally indigent.
  • But in a time of shrinking budgets, there were few funds for hospice care for the indigent.
  • The state agency responsible for indigent defense has run out of money, and other cases are at risk of being delayed or derailed.
  • But even now, in an indigent parish, the priest is still called upon to be the local problem-solver.
  • VA hospitals provide free care for disabled veterans provided their disability is service connected, and indigent veterans.
British Dictionary definitions for indigent


so poor as to lack even necessities; very needy
(usually foll by of) (archaic) lacking (in) or destitute (of)
an impoverished person
Derived Forms
indigence, noun
indigently, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Latin indigēre to need, from egēre to lack
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 indigent

c.1400, from Old French indigent, from Latin indigentem (see indigence). As a noun, "poor person," from early 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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