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  1. lacking food, clothing, and other necessities of life because of poverty; needy; poor; impoverished.
  2. Archaic.
    1. deficient in what is requisite.
    2. destitute (usually followed by of).
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  1. a person who is indigent.
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Origin of indigent

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin indigent- (stem of indigēns) present participle of indigēre to need, lack, be poor, equivalent to ind- by-form of in- in-2 (cf. indagate) + -ig- (combining form of egēre to need, lack) + -ent- -ent
Related formsin·di·gent·ly, adverb
Can be confusedindigence indigentsindigent indignant


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

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British Dictionary definitions for indigent


  1. so poor as to lack even necessities; very needy
  2. (usually foll by of) archaic lacking (in) or destitute (of)
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  1. an impoverished person
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Derived Formsindigence, nounindigently, adverb

Word Origin

C14: from Latin indigēre to need, from egēre to lack
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 indigent


c.1400, from Old French indigent, from Latin indigentem (see indigence). As a noun, "poor person," from early 15c.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper