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See more synonyms for pauper on Thesaurus.com
  1. a person without any means of support, especially a destitute person who depends on aid from public welfare funds or charity.
  2. a very poor person.
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Origin of pauper

1485–95; < Latin: poor
Related formspau·per·age, pau·per·dom, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

supplicant, down-and-out, bankrupt, beggar, dependent, have-not, mendicant, bum, insolvent, lazarus, destitute, indigent

Examples from the Web for pauper

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Even in his native town, he seldom had other than pauper cases to defend.


    Samuel Smiles

  • Yes, he said; nearly everybody is a pauper who is not a ruler.

  • Now, it's my idea that, long's he's bound to be a pauper, he might's well be treated as a pauper.

    Cape Cod Stories

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • I should deserve to be the pauper that I am if such had been my habits.

    St. Martin's Summer

    Rafael Sabatini

  • We have witnessed also the development of the pauper and criminal classes.

    The Negro Farmer

    Carl Kelsey

British Dictionary definitions for pauper


  1. a person who is extremely poor
  2. (formerly) a destitute person supported by public charity
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Derived Formspauperism, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin: poor
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 pauper


1510s, "person destitute of property or means of livelihood," from Latin pauper "poor, not wealthy, of small means" (see poor (adj.)). Originally in English a legal word, from Latin phrase in forma pauperis (late 15c.) "in the character of a poor person," thus allowed to sue in court without legal fees.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper