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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle Low German paltrig (ragged, rubbishy, worthless), from palter, palte (cloth, rag, shred), from Old Saxon *paltro, *palto (cloth, rag), from Proto-Germanic *paltrô, *paltô (scrap, rag, patch). Cognate with Low German palterig (ragged, torn), German dialectal palterig (paltry). Compare also Low German palte (rag), West Frisian palt (rag), German dialectal Palter (rag), Danish pjalt (rag, tatter), Swedish palta (rag). See also palterly.



paltry (comparative paltrier, superlative paltriest)

  1. trashy, trivial, of little value
    This is indeed a paltry flyer about a silly product.
    She made some paltry excuse and left.
  2. meager; worthless; pitiful; trifling
    Could someone hope to survive on such a paltry income?
    Student grants these days are paltry, and many students have to take out loans.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Nouns to which "paltry" is often applied: sum, rate, amount, number, price, salary, wages, fellow, pay, excuse, income, gain, compensation.