AskDefine | Define indigent

Dictionary Definition

indigent adj : poor enough to need help from others [syn: destitute, impoverished, necessitous, needy, poverty-stricken]

User Contributed Dictionary



Old French, from the present participle stem of indigere ‘lack’, from indi- (strengthened form of in-) + egere ‘be in need’.


IPA: /'ɪndɪʤənt/


  1. Poor; destitute; in need.
    • 1974, Guy Davenport, Tatlin!
      I had since my introduction to the prince been sensitive to the fact that he must think an obviously indigent soldier of fortune will sooner or later open the subject of a subscription to the Greek Cause.



poor; destitute


  1. A person in need, or in poverty
    • 1975: I liked the streets best, so I walked and stared, and slept in a Salvation Army hostel for indigents. But I was no indigent; I was rich in feeling, and that was a luxury I had rarely known. — Robertson Davies, World of Wonders


Related terms

Extensive Definition

Impotent poor was a classificiation of poverty used in Britain during the 1600s. It referred to those poor who were unable to support themselves either through age or sickness - not because they did not want to work. This group was considered deserving of poor relief.


Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

almsman, almswoman, bankrupt, beggar, beggared, beggarly, bereaved, bereft, casual, charity case, deprived, destitute, disadvantaged, down-and-out, down-and-outer, flat broke, fleeced, ghettoized, hard up, hardcase, impecunious, impoverished, in need, in rags, in want, mendicant, necessitous, needy, on relief, out at elbows, pauper, pauperized, penniless, penniless man, penurious, poor, poor devil, poor man, poorling, poverty-stricken, short, starveling, strapped, stripped, underprivileged, welfare client
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