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[poo r-hous] /ˈpʊərˌhaʊs/
noun, plural poorhouses
[poo r-hou-ziz] /ˈpʊərˌhaʊ zɪz/ (Show IPA)
(formerly) an institution in which paupers were maintained at public expense.
Origin of poorhouse
First recorded in 1735-45; poor + house Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for poorhouse
Historical Examples
  • "Because you'd probably have to go to the poorhouse," said Halbert, insolently.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • So you see, mother, we needn't go to the poorhouse just yet.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • Then they take 'm to the poorhouse, where nobody but beggars live.

    The Little Colonel Annie Fellows Johnston
  • If he's on the town, he'll have to go right into the poorhouse with the rest.

    Tiverton Tales Alice Brown
  • The other old women in the poorhouse sitting-room gathered about her.

    Meadow Grass Alice Brown
  • The other members of the poorhouse had scanty faith in that red flannel.

    Meadow Grass Alice Brown
  • All around was the fog, thin as poorhouse gruel so fur, but thickenin' every minute.

    The Depot Master Joseph C. Lincoln
  • I was nursed in a poorhouse and brought up in a hut on the Campagna.

    The Eternal City Hall Caine
  • His house was to be seized on the mortgage, and he was to move to the poorhouse next day.

    Cape Cod Stories Joseph C. Lincoln
  • Then his sister passed away and his heart broke; so they took him to the poorhouse.

    Cape Cod Stories Joseph C. Lincoln
British Dictionary definitions for poorhouse


/ˈpʊəˌhaʊs; ˈpɔː-/
(formerly) a publicly maintained institution offering accommodation to the 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 poorhouse

1781, from poor (n.) + house (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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