[ des-ti-toot, -tyoot ]
See synonyms for destitute on
  1. without means of subsistence; lacking food, clothing, and shelter.

  2. deprived of, devoid of, or lacking (often followed by of): destitute of children.

verb (used with object),des·ti·tut·ed, des·ti·tut·ing.
  1. 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

Other words for destitute

Opposites for destitute

Other words from destitute

  • des·ti·tute·ly, adverb
  • des·ti·tute·ness, noun
  • pre·des·ti·tute, adjective
  • un·des·ti·tute, adjective

Words Nearby destitute Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use destitute in a sentence

  • When the old couple became bankrupt and died, the old nurse found herself alone and almost destitute in the world.

    The Garret and the Garden | R.M. Ballantyne
  • Louis was benevolent, but destitute of the decision of character requisite to hold the reins of government in so stormy a period.

  • Now here is a lady, well educated and delicately nurtured, who is destitute of the common necessaries of life.

    The World Before Them | Susanna Moodie
  • It must be borne in mind, in this consideration, that the apes differ from the other tree-dwellers in being destitute of claws.

    Man And His Ancestor | Charles Morris
  • The lower jaws in both were heavy, while the woman was almost destitute of a chin—a marked ape-like characteristic.

    Man And His Ancestor | Charles Morris

British Dictionary definitions for destitute


/ (ˈdɛstɪˌtjuːt) /

  1. lacking the means of subsistence; totally impoverished

  2. (postpositive foll by of) completely lacking; deprived or bereft (of): destitute of words

  1. obsolete abandoned or deserted

Origin of destitute

C14: from Latin dēstitūtus forsaken, from dēstituere to leave alone, from statuere to place

Derived forms of destitute

  • destituteness, noun

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