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From Medieval Latin pēnūriōsus. See penury from Latin penuria (“want”), related to paene (“scarcely”), c. 1400. Compare French pénurie.


penurious (comparative more penurious, superlative most penurious)

  1. Miserly; excessively cheap.
    The old man died a penurious wretch; eighty-thousand dollars in the mattress and as many holes in the roof.
  2. Not bountiful; thin; scant.
    The penurious stew would have been more accurately labelled broth.
  3. Impoverished; wanting for money.
    The poor penurious horde, naught in the cooking pot and naught in the belly.
    • 1961 October, “Talking of Trains: Last of the M.S.W.J.R”, in Trains Illustrated, page 585:
      As the Swindon, Marlborough & Andover, conceived in 1872 and opened between the first two places in 1881 and to Andover and the L.S.W.R. in 1883, it was one of many small, ambitious and penurious Victorian lines, deeply concerned in the skulduggery characteristic of inter-railway dealings of that age and vexed by the G.W.R.



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