Definition of paltry in US English:



  • 1(of an amount) small or meager.

    ‘she would earn a paltry $33 more each month’
    • ‘This paltry amount isn't even enough to heat a cup of coffee, let alone travel to another planet.’
    • ‘This paltry bit extra will soon be used up once the council tax bill arrives.’
    • ‘The paltry sum of Raith's first-half efforts amounted to one shot off target and a corner kick.’
    • ‘Players should not have to sell their marketing rights for paltry sums.’
    • ‘Until two years ago, we had resources so paltry that it amounted to criminal negligence.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Not only is the monetary compensation being offered by the government a paltry amount, but inflation will erode its value over time.’
    • ‘It still represents a paltry amount to live on, but is nevertheless something which should have been done a long time ago.’
    • ‘But the question to pose is, how far can one go using his or her own paltry resources in these hard economic times?’
    • ‘Last year trade between China and Russia amounted to a paltry $5.7 billion.’
    • ‘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 loss of such a paltry amount on its own wouldn't have much impact on the oil market, experts say.’
    • ‘The council says the reason it has had to make cuts is because it has received a paltry amount of grant from the Government.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Though the battle of wills between the two of them is the focus of the film, it generates a paltry amount of drama.’
    • ‘They want to take the music channels to the court for paying paltry amounts for playing their music.’
    • ‘There is some insurance available, although the amount of coverage is paltry.’
    • ‘The first period totalled up a paltry amount of three genuine opportunities.’
    • ‘The only concessions remained limited to some paltry oversight additions.’
    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’
      • ‘He was our coachman, and my father once had him arrested, on account of some paltry offence, for twenty-four hours.’
      • ‘What would I need with your paltry glory?’
      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’.