1. The quality or state of being poor or indigent; want or scarcity of means of subsistence; indigence; need. Swathed in numblest poverty. The drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty. (Prov. Xxiii. 21)
Poverty, Indigence, Pauperism. Poverty is a relative term; what is poverty to a monarch, would be competence for a day laborer. Indigence implies extreme distress, and almost absolute destitution. Pauperism denotes entire dependence upon public charity, and, therefore, often a hopeless and degraded state.
Origin: OE. Poverte, OF. Poverte, F. Pauvrete, fr. L. Paupertas, fr. Pauper poor. See Poor.