[ 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), des·ti·tut·ed, des·ti·tut·ing.

to leave destitute.

Nearby words

  1. destin,
  2. destination,
  3. destine,
  4. destined,
  5. destiny,
  6. destitution,
  7. destock,
  8. destool,
  9. destrier,
  10. destroy

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 formsdes·ti·tute·ly, adverbdes·ti·tute·ness, nounpre·des·ti·tute, adjectiveun·des·ti·tute, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for destitute

British Dictionary definitions for destitute


/ (ˈdɛstɪˌtjuːt) /


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 Formsdestituteness, noun

Word Origin for destitute

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

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