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From Middle English poverte, from Old French poverté (Modern French pauvreté), from Latin paupertās, from pauper (poor) + -tas (noun of state suffix). Cognates include pauper, poor.



poverty (usually uncountable, plural poverties)

  1. The quality or state of being poor; lack of money
    • 2013 June 1, “Towards the end of poverty”, in The Economist[1], volume 407, number 8838, page 11:
      America’s poverty line is $63 a day for a family of four. In the richer parts of the emerging world $4 a day is the poverty barrier. But poverty’s scourge is fiercest below $1.25 (the average of the 15 poorest countries’ own poverty lines, measured in 2005 dollars and adjusted for differences in purchasing power): people below that level live lives that are poor, nasty, brutish and short.
  2. A deficiency of something needed or desired
    poverty of soil
    poverty of the blood
    poverty of spirit



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