Definition of poorhouse in US English:



  • An institution where paupers were maintained with public funds.

    • ‘Goodwin says in her own family tree she discovered a great-aunt whose place of birth was the Govan poorhouse, and whose mother's occupation was listed as pauper.’
    • ‘In contrast, 19th century poorhouses burst at the seams, and their regimes became more totalitarian in response.’
    • ‘Whether you're getting by on £300, £3,000 or £300,000 a month, spending more than you rake in will put you in the poorhouse.’
    • ‘In fact, Robert E. Cray argues in his book on poor relief in New York that many rural towns erected workhouses and poorhouses before the American Revolution.’
    • ‘The difference between poorhouses and workhouses in Bridgewater is more ambiguous.’
    • ‘And the reality was, that without some kind of financial support, the widow and the children would end up in the poorhouse, and that was the basis for the legislation.’
    • ‘And if you didn't pay the bills it was the poorhouse, or transportation to Australia, or hanging, or all three…’
    • ‘Desperately seeking a change of fortune, the Cardans moved to Milan, but here they fared even worse and they had to ignominiously enter the poorhouse.’
    • ‘Some housing projects would have to remain as de facto poorhouses for the most dysfunctional.’
    • ‘For example, what were these poorhouses like, why did these towns build poor houses, did the towns differentiate between poorhouses and workhouses, and why for the most part, were these institutions temporary?’
    • ‘Pop regularly trumpeted the strains of British rule: evictions, poorhouses, famine.’
    • ‘It is conceivable that Plymouth officials housed paupers in the poorhouses of one of the neighboring towns, as permitted by the 1774 statute.’
    • ‘Among these visitors were people from the poorhouse, and the pauper, who was ‘deficient in intellect,’ but who Thoreau thought to be in better shape than many people who were much smarter, because he knew and told the truth.’
    • ‘A second way of aiding the poor, which developed in many towns especially from the 1750's onward, was to build poorhouses, workhouses, or town farms where people would work for the town for their support.’
    • ‘By 1878 it had 2,700 sisters, and was the main provider of housing for the old outside hospitals and poorhouses.’
    • ‘But what of the mothers, women imprisoned and committed to poorhouses, punished for their wanton lusts rather than neglect of children?’
    • ‘Similarly, in 1795 J M Good, a physician who carried out a painstaking examination of diseases of prisons and poorhouses, wrote, ‘No medicine is much more advantageous than the daily changing of linen.’’
    • ‘The Collins girls were from Tyringham and the Paynes, who were born in Connecticut, may have been indentured from the poorhouse of Norwalk or Bridgeport as well.’
    • ‘The creation of an almshouse or a poorhouse was not necessarily due to any particular function of the town, but may have been influenced by a particularly powerful selectmen.’
    • ‘The poorhouses and the debtors' prisons have long since closed.’