adjective, paltrier, paltriest.
ridiculously or insultingly small: a paltry sum.
utterly worthless.
mean or contemptible: a paltry coward.

1560–70; < Low German paltrig ragged, equivalent to *palter rag (dialectal German Palter) + -ig -y1

paltrily, adverb
paltriness, noun
unpaltry, adjective

paltry, poultry.

1. minor, inconsiderable, slight, insignificant. See petty.

1. important, major. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
paltry (ˈpɔːltrɪ)
adj , -trier, -triest
1.  insignificant; meagre
2.  worthless or petty
[C16: from Low Germanic palter, paltrig ragged]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1570, probably adj. use of noun paltry "worthless thing" (1556), associated with dial. palt, pelt "trash," cognate with M.L.G. and E.Fris. palte "rag," M.Du. palt "broken or torn fragment." Cf. Low Ger. paltrig "rubbishy," E.Fris. palterig "ragged, torn."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
According to the association's analysis, categories of workers who received any
  median salary increases saw only paltry ones.
New York's 7.5 million people face a housing market infamous for
  skyscraper-high prices and paltry options.
The result: a tiny screen with 1.4 million pixels, compared with the paltry
  200000 on most electronic viewfinders.
As late as 1967, the average baseball player's salary was less than $20000,
  with paltry pension benefits.
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