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[des-ti-toot, -tyoot]
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  1. without means of subsistence; lacking food, clothing, and shelter.
  2. deprived of, devoid of, or lacking (often followed by of): destitute of children.
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verb (used with object), des·ti·tut·ed, des·ti·tut·ing.
  1. to leave destitute.
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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

Synonyms for destitute

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Antonyms for destitute

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for destitute

poor, strapped, poverty-stricken, penniless, needy, exhausted, insolvent, impoverished, indigent, bankrupt, bereft, deficient, drained, empty, flat, impecunious, lacking, penurious, stony, stripped

Examples from the Web for destitute

Contemporary Examples of destitute

Historical Examples of destitute

  • Gosse found the country generally poor and destitute of water.

  • He found the district to the north to be a dreary waste, destitute of food and water.

  • Do you think me destitute of every honest, every natural feeling?

    Lady Susan

    Jane Austen

  • Remember the interpositions of God to supply the necessities of the destitute.

  • His eyes travelled over her hands and neck, destitute of ornaments.

    The Avenger

    E. Phillips Oppenheim

British Dictionary definitions for destitute


  1. lacking the means of subsistence; totally impoverished
  2. (postpositive foll by of) completely lacking; deprived or bereft (of)destitute of words
  3. obsolete abandoned or deserted
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper