poor house

poorhouse

[poor-hous]
noun, plural poorhouses [poor-hou-ziz] .
(formerly) an institution in which paupers were maintained at public expense.

Origin:
1735–45; poor + house

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World English Dictionary
poorhouse (ˈpʊəˌhaʊs, ˈpɔː-)
 
n
(formerly) a publicly maintained institution offering accommodation to the poor

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Britannica
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poor house

in the United States, a locally administered public institution for homeless, aged persons without means. Such institutions radically declined in number in the second half of the 20th century, replaced by other means of subsistence and care.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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