One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A very poor person.‘he died a pauper’
poor person, indigent, bankrupt, insolventView synonyms
- ‘He has pressed palms with presidents and paupers, gurus and lepers on his journeys across continents.’
- ‘They would enter the room as millionaires and a few years later they would be paupers.’
- ‘Was your great grandfather a prince or a pauper?’
- ‘Directors of such banks prosper while depositors turn paupers.’
- ‘And the heat went out of the pursuit eventually, and when he died in 1762, although a pauper, he was no longer a fugitive.’
- ‘Starvation deaths are most endemic among these agrarian labourers and among the rural paupers.’
- ‘Not that my parents are paupers - they wouldn't want people to think they don't make a living - but they're comfortable.’
- ‘However, I was as poor as a pauper with a broken carriage and no prince.’
- ‘It was invaluable experience, but we were all absolute paupers.’
- ‘The hosts began the game like kings but ended up paupers.’
- ‘Unlike some of the ultra rich who will benefit from an illconceived scheme, some of the Irish players would be paupers by comparison.’
- ‘This means people will not belong to any of the classes or professions, but will simply be poor and helpless paupers.’
- ‘It almost feels like we're a bunch of paupers waiting outside a rich man's house.’
- ‘Children are taken out of education and become paupers.’
- ‘At this rate the country will become a land of paupers pandering to third world countries.’
- ‘Why does one think that people become paupers overnight?’
- ‘Disease spread rapidly among the half starved and half clothed paupers.’
- ‘The whole world was there - princes, kings, paupers, and priests - and an elation was felt that had never before been attained.’
- ‘There are decent paupers just as there are decent princes.’
- ‘The profession was given automatic rights to ‘unclaimed bodies’, usually those of paupers.’
- 1.1historical A recipient of relief under the provisions of the Poor Law or of public charity.‘he was buried in a pauper's grave’
- ‘I suspect he's buried in a pauper's grave somewhere there in that little town's cemetery, long since forgotten.’
- ‘Dickens's rage against the New Poor Law, which precluded able-bodied paupers from relief, is underplayed.’
- ‘She was buried in a pauper's grave this weekend.’
- ‘As there were no private clinics then, and hospitals were charitable institutions for paupers, he went to the house of his cousin.’
- ‘By Winter he is penniless, far from home, and buried in an unmarked pauper's grave.’
- 1.2US Law A poor person who may bring a legal action without payment of costs.
- ‘If we go back to the example of the US Supreme Court, a pauper who has to depend on free legal aid is no match for the billionaire.’
Late 15th century: from Latin, literally ‘poor’. The word's use in English originated in the Latin legal phrase in forma pauperis, literally ‘in the form of a poor person’ (allowing non-payment of costs).
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