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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), Saterland Frisian Palte ‎(strip; band; tape), German dialectal Palter ‎(rag), Danish pjalt ‎(rag, tatter), Swedish palta ‎(rag). See also palterly.


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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.