1. The state of being poor; lack of the means of providing material needs or comforts.
2. Deficiency in amount; scantiness: "the poverty of feeling that reduced her soul" (Scott Turow).
3. Unproductiveness; infertility: the poverty of the soil.
4. Renunciation made by a member of a religious order of the right to own property.
[Middle English poverte, from Old French, from Latin paupertās, from pauper, poor; see pau-1 in Indo-European roots.]
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