- extreme poverty; destitution.
- scarcity; dearth; inadequacy; insufficiency.
Origin of penury
1400–50; late Middle English < Latin pēnūria; akin to Greek peîna hunger, penía poverty
SynonymsSee more synonyms for penury on Thesaurus.com
1. indigence, need, want.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for penury
Or perhaps the plague of Strawberry Quick-flavored meth that was luring children into a life of addiction and penury.Parents Panic Over Old Fake Smarties Snorting Craze
January 23, 2014
Relative obscurity and penury, her anthem claims, rule just as hard as the point-oh-oh-one percent realm of excess and access.Duck! Reality TV Returns Us to the Dark Age of Tribal Warfare
December 21, 2013
Larry, it looks like traveling up the royal road you slashed through the forest of penury.Norman Mailer vs. Everyone
February 27, 2009
Formerly he had never been alarmed by the penury of his little home.Fruitfulness
Had he learned to carp at the rich, and to make honesty the excuse for all penury?Dr. Sevier
George W. Cable
If there were no penury and no pain, what would become of fortitude?
The life that passes in penury must necessarily pass in obscurity.The Works of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. in Nine Volumes
The Admiral had in one hour been reduced from opulence to penury.The History of England from the Accession of James II.
Thomas Babington Macaulay
- extreme poverty
- extreme scarcity
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."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper