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  1. extreme poverty; destitution.
  2. scarcity; dearth; inadequacy; insufficiency.
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Origin of penury

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin pēnūria; akin to Greek peîna hunger, penía poverty

Synonyms for penury

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Antonyms for penury

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

Related Words for penury

privation, destitution, dearth, indigence, barrenness, insufficiency, scantiness, need

Examples from the Web for penury

Contemporary Examples of penury

Historical Examples of penury

British Dictionary definitions for penury


  1. extreme poverty
  2. extreme scarcity
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Word Origin for penury

C15: from Latin pēnūria dearth, of obscure origin
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 penury


c.1400, from Latin penuria "want, need; scarcity," related to paene "scarcely."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper