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[poo r-hous] /ˈpʊərˌhaʊs/
noun, plural poorhouses
[poo r-hou-ziz] /ˈpʊərˌhaʊ zɪz/ (Show IPA)
(formerly) an institution in which paupers were maintained at public expense.
Origin of poorhouse
1735-45; poor + house Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for poorhouse
Historical Examples
  • My husband will never let me be took to the poorhouse and kept there.

  • Then they take 'm to the poorhouse, where nobody but beggars live.

    The Little Colonel Annie Fellows Johnston
  • No matter if I do have t' go t' the poorhouse on account of yer shiftlessness.

    Janet of the Dunes Harriet T. Comstock
  • The other members of the poorhouse had scanty faith in that red flannel.

    Meadow Grass Alice Brown
  • Well, didn't he come from the poorhouse, and ain't he a nobody?

    Dave Porter in the South Seas Edward Stratemeyer
  • All around was the fog, thin as poorhouse gruel so fur, but thickenin' every minute.

    The Depot Master Joseph C. Lincoln
  • But I wouldn't stay to be a burden—I'd go to the poorhouse first.

    Jack's Ward Horatio Alger, Jr.
  • I was nursed in a poorhouse and brought up in a hut on the Campagna.

    The Eternal City Hall Caine
  • “You all speak as if the poorhouse was a gaol,” the doctor said testily.

    The Little Minister J. M. Barrie
  • Whether he goes to the poorhouse or not, he goes out of that house of mine to-morrer.

    Cape Cod Stories Joseph C. Lincoln
British Dictionary definitions for poorhouse


/ˈpʊəˌhaʊs; ˈpɔː-/
(formerly) a publicly maintained institution offering accommodation to the poor
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 poorhouse

1781, from poor (n.) + house (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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