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poverty

[pov-er-tee] /ˈpɒv ər ti/
noun
1.
the state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support; condition of being poor.
Antonyms: riches, wealth, plenty.
2.
deficiency of necessary or desirable ingredients, qualities, etc.:
poverty of the soil.
3.
scantiness; insufficiency:
Their efforts to stamp out disease were hampered by a poverty of medical supplies.
Origin of poverty
1125-1175
1125-75; Middle English poverte < Old French < Latin paupertāt- (stem of paupertās) small means, moderate circumstances. See pauper, -ty2
Synonym Study
1. Poverty, destitution, need, want imply a state of privation and lack of necessities. Poverty denotes serious lack of the means for proper existence: living in a state of extreme poverty. Destitution, a somewhat more literary word, implies a state of having absolutely none of the necessities of life: widespread destitution in countries at war. Need emphasizes the fact that help or relief is necessary: Most of the people were in great need. Want emphasizes privations, especially lack of food and clothing: Families were suffering from want.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for poverty

poverty

/ˈpɒvətɪ/
noun
1.
the condition of being without adequate food, money, etc
2.
scarcity or dearth: a poverty of wit
3.
a lack of elements conducive to fertility in land or soil
Word Origin
C12: from Old French poverté, from Latin paupertās restricted means, from pauperpoor
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 poverty
n.

late 12c., from Old French poverte "poverty, misery, wretched condition" (Modern French pauvreté), from Latin paupertatem (nominative paupertas) "poverty," from pauper "poor" (see poor (adj.)).

Seeing so much poverty everywhere makes me think that God is not rich. He gives the appearance of it, but I suspect some financial difficulties. [Victor Hugo, "Les Misérables," 1862]
Poverty line attested from 1901; poverty trap from 1966; poverty-stricken from 1803.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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