Pov"er*ty (?), n. [OE. poverte, OF. povert'e, F. pauvret'e, fr. L. paupertas, fr. pauper poor. See Poor.]
The quality or state of being poor or indigent; want or scarcity of means of subsistence; indigence; need.
"Swathed in numblest poverty
The drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty.
Prov. xxiii. 21.
Any deficiency of elements or resources that are needed or desired, or that constitute richness; as, poverty of soil; poverty of the blood; poverty of ideas.
Poverty grass Bot., a name given to several slender grasses (as Aristida dichotoma, and Danthonia spicata) which often spring up on old and worn-out fields.
Syn. -- Indigence; penury; beggary; need; lack; want; scantiness; sparingness; meagerness; jejuneness. Poverty, Indigence, Pauperism. Poverty is a relative term; what is poverty to a monarch, would be competence for a day laborer. Indigence implies extreme distress, and almost absolute destitution. Pauperism denotes entire dependence upon public charity, and, therefore, often a hopeless and degraded state.
© Webster 1913.