[ pawl-tree ]
/ ˈpɔl tri /

adjective, pal·tri·er, pal·tri·est.

ridiculously or insultingly small: a paltry sum.
utterly worthless.
mean or contemptible: a paltry coward.

Origin of paltry

1560–70; < Low German paltrig ragged, equivalent to *palter rag (dialectal German Palter) + -ig -y1

Related forms

pal·tri·ly, adverbpal·tri·ness, nounun·pal·try, adjective

Can be confused

paltry poultry Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for paltry

British Dictionary definitions for paltry


/ (ˈpɔːltrɪ) /

adjective -trier or -triest

insignificant; meagre
worthless or petty

Derived Forms

paltrily, adverbpaltriness, noun

Word Origin for paltry

C16: from Low Germanic palter, paltrig ragged
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