Definition of penurious in English:



  • 1Extremely poor; poverty-stricken.

    ‘a penurious old tramp’
    • ‘Once some penurious student has finished loading up a piece of art into her van, it immediately gains in value.’
    • ‘This, as you might appreciate, presents many problems for a man with the soul of a tortured and penurious poet.’
    • ‘The garish festivities are set in one of the world's most penurious places.’
    • ‘He had grown up in a penurious middle-class family, and it was the middle class and the official world which predominated in his sketches, stories, and plays.’
    • ‘Unlike the penurious English king, Louis provided substantial financial support for full-time investigation.’
    poor, as poor as a church mouse, poverty-stricken, destitute, necessitous, in penury, impecunious, impoverished, indigent, needy, in need, in want, badly off, in reduced circumstances, in straitened circumstances, hard up, on one's beam-ends, unable to make ends meet, underprivileged, penniless, without a sou, moneyless, bankrupt, bust, insolvent
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    1. 1.1 Characterized by poverty.
      ‘penurious years’
      • ‘Your plan to spend everything you have and more as soon as possible seems a certain recipe for a penurious old age.’
      • ‘His poems continuously make us understand the penurious effects of genocide in communal riots.’
      • ‘One promising effort is intended to increase the low personal savings rate in the U.S., which could doom many people to a penurious retirement.’
      • ‘Was the students' act bordering on something like savagery when they took advantage of the workers' penurious state?’
      • ‘He is encouraged by the fact that the penurious state of the game is forcing Scottish clubs to offer greater opportunities to youngsters.’
      • ‘But then again, memory is cheaper than at any time I've ever known it, and 1 GB of RAM is affordable by all but those in the most penurious of situations.’
      • ‘She never recovered from the Great Depression and lived a penurious existence to the end.’
      • ‘A comparable case is that of Iraq, where in spite of the weekly strikes by the U.S. and Britain and the penurious condition of the country, has still not thrown in the towel.’
      destitute, poverty-stricken, impoverished, indigent, penniless, insolvent, impecunious, ruined, pauperized, without a penny to one's name, without two farthings to rub together, without two pennies to rub together
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  • 2Unwilling to spend money; mean.

    ‘a tight-fisted, penurious boss whose wage scale is well below other bandleaders’
    • ‘It is rather penurious reasoning too, knowing what we know about the geo-strategic priorities of the United States at this conjuncture.’
    mean, miserly, niggardly, parsimonious, penny-pinching, close-fisted, cheese-paring, scrimping, grasping, greedy, avaricious, scrooge-like, ungenerous, illiberal, close
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Late 16th century: from medieval Latin penuriosus, from Latin penuria ‘need, scarcity’ (see penury).