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[des-ti-toot, -tyoot] /ˈdɛs tɪˌtut, -ˌtyut/
without means of subsistence; lacking food, clothing, and shelter.
deprived of, devoid of, or lacking (often followed by of):
destitute of children.
verb (used with object), destituted, destituting.
to leave destitute.
Origin of destitute
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin dēstitūtus (past participle of dēstituere to abandon, deprive of support), equivalent to dē- de- + stit- place, put (combining form of statuere; see statute) + -ū- thematic vowel + -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
destitutely, adverb
destituteness, noun
predestitute, adjective
undestitute, adjective
1. needy, poor, indigent, necessitous, penniless, impoverished. 2. deficient.
1. affluent. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for destitute
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Gosse found the country generally poor and destitute of water.

  • He found the district to the north to be a dreary waste, destitute of food and water.

  • Do you think me destitute of every honest, every natural feeling?

    Lady Susan Jane Austen
  • Remember the interpositions of God to supply the necessities of the destitute.

  • His eyes travelled over her hands and neck, destitute of ornaments.

    The Avenger E. Phillips Oppenheim
British Dictionary definitions for destitute


lacking the means of subsistence; totally impoverished
(postpositive) foll by of. completely lacking; deprived or bereft (of): destitute of words
(obsolete) abandoned or deserted
Derived Forms
destituteness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin dēstitūtus forsaken, from dēstituere to leave alone, from statuere to place
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for destitute

late 14c., "abandoned, forsaken," from Latin destitutus "abandoned," past participle of destituere "forsake," from de- "away" + statuere "put, place," causative of stare "to stand," from PIE root *sta- "to stand" (see stet). Originally literal; sense of "lacking resources, impoverished" is 1530s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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