Try Our Apps


The Best Internet Slang


[pit-ns] /ˈpɪt ns/
a small amount or share.
a small allowance or sum, as of money for living expenses.
a scanty income or remuneration.
Origin of pittance
1175-1225; Middle English pitaunce < Old French pitance, variant of pietance piety, pity, allowance of food (in a monastery). See pity, -ance Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for pittance
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "You'll go on here to the end of your days, working for a pittance," he objected.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • The thought of going back to a pittance a year sickened him.

    Garrison's Finish W. B. M. Ferguson
  • What with Paliser Place, its upkeep and the rest of it, it must be a pittance.

    The Paliser case Edgar Saltus
  • One as rich as he is known to be will not object to a pittance like that.

    The Last Woman

    Ross Beeckman
  • A pittance of money is obtained, and then they search for a man.

    Thoughts on Missions

    Sheldon Dibble
British Dictionary definitions for pittance


a small amount or portion, esp a meagre allowance of money
Word Origin
C16: from Old French pietance ration, ultimately from Latin pietās duty
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for pittance

c.1200, "pious donation to a religious house or order to provide extra food; the extra food provided," also "a small portion, scanty rations," from Old French pitance "pity, mercy, compassion; refreshment, nourishment; portion of food allowed a monk or poor person by a pious bequest," apparently literally "pity," from pitié (see pity). Meaning "small amount, portion" first recorded 1560s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for pittance

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for pittance

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for pittance