One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1usually in singular A very small or inadequate amount of money.‘he paid his workers a pittance’
a very small amount, a tiny amount, an insufficient amount, next to nothing, very littleView synonyms
- ‘They pay a pittance into the state pension system and then rob workers over company pension plans.’
- ‘CARILLION IS raking in profits while paying its workers a pittance.’
- ‘Hotels are a pittance, the national park is free, and there's mini-golf, ice cream cones and bowling to boot.’
- ‘Labor's election promises, which amounted to a pittance spread out over a number of years, convinced few voters.’
- ‘It does give some money - a pittance - to some boys and girls.’
- ‘At the end of the day, after paying the rental, the pittance that we earn is not enough for day-to-day expenses.’
- ‘So I'll have at least a tiny pittance of spending money for a few days, before it runs out again.’
- ‘I also knew that I could not be appeased with a pittance in dividends simply because everyone was focused on share price growth.’
- ‘With a pittance of a salary, how could they be enthused to become proactive people?’
- ‘Her husband, after incurring losses trying to run a business, is now employed in a private firm for a pittance.’
- ‘Nobody can understand you are making a pittance on the rent.’
- ‘To get a pittance of a welfare subsidy, you must work 4 hours a day.’
- ‘We even pay taxes on most of our Social Security earnings, if our household income rises above a pittance.’
- ‘Since then Northwest has posted record profits and awarded huge pay increases to top executives, while offering a pittance to workers.’
- ‘Yet we pay these workers a pittance for work that is often physically and mentally demanding in the extreme.’
- ‘These workers are paid a pittance for doing vital work in hospitals.’
- ‘Pensioners and workers are hammered by this Tory tax while the wealthy pay a pittance.’
- ‘Two of the world's richest men, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, say they'll leave what amounts to a pittance to their children.’
- ‘One only had to look at the vast amounts of war medals sold for a pittance by impoverished and embittered veterans at flea markets.’
- ‘Now, the agencies pay them only a pittance and pocket part of the amount collected from those who want to engage home nurses.’
2historical A pious bequest to a religious house or order to provide extra food and wine at particular festivals, or on the anniversary of the benefactor's death.
Middle English: from Old French pitance, from medieval Latin pitantia, from Latin pietas ‘pity’.
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