Definition of destitute in US English:



  • 1Without the basic necessities of life.

    ‘the charity cares for destitute children’
    • ‘He lived the high life as a London yuppie and threw it all away to work with the poor and destitute in Liverpool slums.’
    • ‘It quickly spread to neighbouring shacks, leaving their already poor occupants destitute.’
    • ‘Society to this day stigmatises blacks as being poor and destitute, as well as criminals.’
    • ‘Our government is faced with many challenges and promises to deliver and serve the poor and destitute.’
    • ‘Can you do something to increase the grant for the destitute children?’
    • ‘The English aristocracy of the 19th century cared little for the poor and destitute.’
    • ‘Ethan did not want anyone in Starkfield to think that he was poor and destitute again.’
    • ‘Many of us who were forced out of the country are now scattered all over the world as impoverished and financially destitute refugees.’
    • ‘Only the destitute are provided with any support, and then at the lowest level.’
    • ‘Most people did not quality for a medical card unless they were destitute, unemployed or had a serious illness.’
    • ‘Old age homes are necessary, but essentially for the destitute and the poor.’
    • ‘These animals are of huge importance in the lives of destitute people.’
    • ‘While we had been a wealthy nation before colonisation, we were left destitute and poor by the end of it.’
    • ‘How does Dr. Singh give 400 million of the poor and the destitute a stake in Indian democracy?’
    • ‘Some only lost fathers but were put in orphanages by destitute mothers who had no means to support them after the Gulf War.’
    • ‘This makes them an extremely unattractive economic proposition for even the most destitute ragpicker.’
    • ‘Karim has been rendering selfless service to the destitute patients at the MCH for the last five years.’
    • ‘Three days a week, workers visit the areas around the church with breakfasts and lunches for the destitute.’
    • ‘That money could be spent on the poor and destitute without expecting any reward for it from God.’
    • ‘People living at or below this income level are not simply poor, but destitute.’
    penniless, impoverished, poverty-stricken, poor, impecunious, indigent, down and out, pauperized, without a penny to one's name, without two farthings to rub together, without two pennies to rub together
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    1. 1.1destitute ofpredicative Not having.
      ‘towns destitute of commerce’
      • ‘Jobless and destitute of funds, McClean enlists with the Black Knight Legion, a band of villainous mercenaries driven by the acquisition of financial gain.’
      • ‘Very remarkable; fittest, perhaps, for an age fallen languid, destitute of faith and terrified at scepticism.’
      • ‘Nearly destitute of food, clothing, and ammunition, with enlistments expiring and men abandoning what looked like a lost cause, the Continental army was about to fade away.’
      • ‘Kamehameha died in 1819, and was succeeded by his son, Lilohilo, or Kamehameha II., a mild and well disposed prince, but destitute of his father's energy.’
      • ‘According to General Canby, they were on Camas Prairie because ‘their country was almost entirely destitute of game,’ a complaint rendered all the more believable because of its frequency.’
      • ‘Relying on impressions from travel books, Carey concluded that over half ‘of the sons of Adam… are in general poor, barbarous, naked pagans as destitute of civilisation, as they are of true religion.’’
      • ‘These, Denny, are empty and vapid slogans because those who use them are destitute of any imagination or feeling of what such greed, racism or imperialism is like.’
      • ‘She is… utterly destitute of the sense of fear.’
      • ‘The single room in which the Dysons lived was ‘almost destitute of furniture.’’
      • ‘Even in its gaunt incompleteness, destitute of the wealth of colour which is meant to adorn it, the interior of Bentley's spacious building is immensely impressive.’
      • ‘‘Marched 32 miles over rough barren country destitute of both water and grass,’ Wright recorded that day.’
      • ‘He deplored the current urban landscape of his time, both its slums and wealthy apartments, as destitute of imagination, just as he rejected the view of art as the beauty parlor of civilization.’
      • ‘The church historian should not be indifferent to the subject, or ‘so destitute of convictions as to form no moral judgments on the parties and individuals whose history he studies,’ he said.’
      • ‘‘We have just learned through the southern Indians, that the troops are very destitute of provisions,’ it began.’
      • ‘Its last coal shipment occurred in 1959 and, destitute of viable alternatives, it ceased trading in 1961.’
      • ‘In both cases, the period that Ms. Jordan (a canonical figure herself, included in both anthologies) believed to be largely destitute of significance today makes up the bulk of the African American literary tradition.’
      • ‘How parliaments make swine and vermin of men, who are destitute of morals and devoid of human attributes, is no more in the realm of magic, neither in that of magic realism.’
      • ‘He thought their clothes ugly, ‘destitute of taste, destitute of grace, repulsive as a shroud’ and preferred aloud the simple, colorful and more natural native garb.’
      • ‘Cooper's weir was an obstruction that left upstream areas ‘without a fish to be seen’ and many of the ‘poorer classes destitute of fresh meat.’’
      • ‘The transition from any value system to a new one must pass through that zero point of atomic dissolution, must take its way through a generation, destitute of any connection, with either the old or the new system.’
      devoid, bereft, deprived, in need
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Late Middle English (in the sense ‘deserted, abandoned, empty’): from Latin destitutus, past participle of destituere ‘forsake’, from de- ‘away from’ + statuere ‘to place’.