[poo r-hous]

noun, plural poor·hous·es [poo r-hou-ziz] /ˈpʊərˌhaʊ zɪz/.

(formerly) an institution in which paupers were maintained at public expense.

Origin of poorhouse

First recorded in 1735–45; poor + house
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for poorhouse

Historical Examples of poorhouse

  • "Because you'd probably have to go to the poorhouse," said Halbert, insolently.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • So you see, mother, we needn't go to the poorhouse just yet.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Then they take 'm to the poorhouse, where nobody but beggars live.

    The Little Colonel

    Annie Fellows Johnston

  • If he's on the town, he'll have to go right into the Poorhouse with the rest.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • The other old women in the Poorhouse sitting-room gathered about her.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

British Dictionary definitions for poorhouse



(formerly) a publicly maintained institution offering accommodation to the 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 poorhouse

1781, from poor (n.) + house (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper