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[paw-per] /ˈpɔ pər/
a person without any means of support, especially a destitute person who depends on aid from public welfare funds or charity.
a very poor person.
Origin of pauper
1485-95; < Latin: poor
Related forms
pauperage, pauperdom, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for pauper
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Even in his native town, he seldom had other than pauper cases to defend.

    Self-Help Samuel Smiles
  • Yes, he said; nearly everybody is a pauper who is not a ruler.

    The Republic Plato
  • Now, it's my idea that, long's he's bound to be a pauper, he might's well be treated as a pauper.

    Cape Cod Stories Joseph C. Lincoln
  • I should deserve to be the pauper that I am if such had been my habits.

    St. Martin's Summer Rafael Sabatini
  • We have witnessed also the development of the pauper and criminal classes.

    The Negro Farmer Carl Kelsey
  • I can only say, that, pauper as I am, I would not exchange places with the one who has done this deed.

    Paul Prescott's Charge Horatio Alger
  • And indeed I don't know whether he had not been a pauper all his life.

    Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad
  • It was only the beginning of The Prince and the pauper productions.

British Dictionary definitions for pauper


a person who is extremely poor
(formerly) a destitute person supported by public charity
Derived Forms
pauperism, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin: poor
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 pauper

1510s, "person destitute of property or means of livelihood," from Latin pauper "poor, not wealthy, of small means" (see poor (adj.)). Originally in English a legal word, from Latin phrase in forma pauperis (late 15c.) "in the character of a poor person," thus allowed to sue in court without legal fees.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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