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From Middle English penyles, penylees; equivalent to penny +‎ -less. Compare Old Norse penningalauss (penniless).



penniless (not comparable)

  1. Lacking even the smallest amount of money.
    Synonym: farthingless
    • 1889, Horatio Alger, Driven From Home, ch. 10:
      A dollar and a quarter seems a small sum, but if you are absolutely penniless it might as well be a thousand.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 17, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      This time was most dreadful for Lilian. Thrown on her own resources and almost penniless, she maintained herself and paid the rent of a wretched room near the hospital by working as a charwoman, sempstress, anything. In a moment she had dropped to the level of a casual labourer.


See also[edit]