[ paw-per ]
/ ˈpɔ pər /


a person without any means of support, especially a destitute person who depends on aid from public welfare funds or charity.
a very poor person.

Nearby words

  1. paulownia,
  2. paumgartner,
  3. paumotu archipelago,
  4. paunch,
  5. paunchy,
  6. pauperism,
  7. pauperize,
  8. paupiette,
  9. paur,
  10. pauraque

Origin of pauper

1485–95; < Latin: poor

Related formspau·per·age, pau·per·dom, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pauper

British Dictionary definitions for pauper


/ (ˈpɔːpə) /


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

Word Origin for pauper

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper