Definition of paltry in English:



  • 1(of an amount) very small or meagre.

    ‘she would earn a paltry £33 more a month’
    • ‘The loss of such a paltry amount on its own wouldn't have much impact on the oil market, experts say.’
    • ‘The paltry sum of Raith's first-half efforts amounted to one shot off target and a corner kick.’
    • ‘When someone offered him a paltry amount to take the business off his hands, however, Hughes realised he was not about to give up that easily.’
    • ‘The council says the reason it has had to make cuts is because it has received a paltry amount of grant from the Government.’
    • ‘Not only is the monetary compensation being offered by the government a paltry amount, but inflation will erode its value over time.’
    • ‘Players should not have to sell their marketing rights for paltry sums.’
    • ‘They want to take the music channels to the court for paying paltry amounts for playing their music.’
    • ‘But the question to pose is, how far can one go using his or her own paltry resources in these hard economic times?’
    • ‘He described the 12.7m that will go towards education programmes as a paltry amount.’
    • ‘But it's still going to be paltry amounts whichever way you slice it.’
    • ‘The first period totalled up a paltry amount of three genuine opportunities.’
    • ‘Until two years ago, we had resources so paltry that it amounted to criminal negligence.’
    • ‘Though the battle of wills between the two of them is the focus of the film, it generates a paltry amount of drama.’
    • ‘There is some insurance available, although the amount of coverage is paltry.’
    • ‘Over the past few years sales have rocketed, as people look for a safe home for their investments in the face of turbulent stock markets and paltry interest rates.’
    • ‘Last year trade between China and Russia amounted to a paltry $5.7 billion.’
    • ‘This paltry bit extra will soon be used up once the council tax bill arrives.’
    • ‘The only concessions remained limited to some paltry oversight additions.’
    • ‘This paltry amount isn't even enough to heat a cup of coffee, let alone travel to another planet.’
    • ‘It still represents a paltry amount to live on, but is nevertheless something which should have been done a long time ago.’
    small, meagre, trifling, insignificant, negligible, inadequate, insufficient, scant, scanty, derisory, pitiful, pitiable, pathetic, miserable, sorry, wretched, puny, trivial, niggardly, beggarly, mean, ungenerous, inappreciable, mere
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    1. 1.1 Petty; trivial.
      ‘naval glory struck him as paltry’
      • ‘What would I need with your paltry glory?’
      • ‘He was our coachman, and my father once had him arrested, on account of some paltry offence, for twenty-four hours.’
      worthless, petty, trivial, unimportant, insignificant, inconsequential, of little account, of little consequence, meaningless, negligible, nugatory, minor, footling, contemptible
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Mid 16th century: apparently based on dialect pelt ‘rubbish, especially rags’; compare with Low German paltrig ‘ragged’.