Word of the DayTuesday, January 06, 2004
\PEN-yuh-ree\ , noun;
Extreme poverty; destitution.
Absence of resources; insufficiency.
Charles regretted his departure, and the penury of his treasury, but trusted that God would favour him in his struggle against the king of France.
-- Henry Kamen, Philip of Spain
He was a cooper by trade, a native of Rio de Janeiro, where he would have died in penury and obscurity had he limited himself to the work of barrel-making.
-- Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas
That sovereign of insufferables, Oscar Wilde, has ensued with his opulence of twadle and his penury of sense.
-- Ambrose Bierce, Wasp, March 31, 1882
Penury is from Latin penuria, "lack, want."
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