Definition of paltry in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpɔːltri/
Pronunciation: /ˈpɒltri/

adjective (paltrier, paltriest)

1(Of an amount) very small or meagre: she would earn a paltry £33 more a month
More example sentences
  • He described the 12.7m that will go towards education programmes as a paltry amount.
  • When someone offered him a paltry amount to take the business off his hands, however, Hughes realised he was not about to give up that easily.
  • It still represents a paltry amount to live on, but is nevertheless something which should have been done a long time ago.
small, meagre, trifling, insignificant, negligible, inadequate, insufficient, scant, scanty, derisory, pitiful, pitiable, pathetic, miserable, sorry, wretched, puny, trivial, niggardly, beggarly, mean, ungenerous, inappreciable, mere
informal measly, piddling, piffling, mingy, poxy, dinky
rare exiguous
1.1Petty; trivial: naval glory struck him as paltry
More example sentences
  • He was our coachman, and my father once had him arrested, on account of some paltry offence, for twenty-four hours.
  • What would I need with your paltry glory?
worthless, petty, trivial, unimportant, insignificant, inconsequential, of little account/consequence, meaningless, negligible, nugatory, minor, footling, contemptible
informal penny-ante
British informal twopenny, twopenny-halfpenny
North American informal nickel-and-dime, picayune



Pronunciation: /ˈpɔːltrɪnəs/
Pronunciation: /ˈpɒltrɪnəs/
Example sentences
  • The majority remain serenely intransigent about taking on serious commitments while berating the minority for the paltriness of their sacrifice.
  • Perhaps it's just that the power of the wind and rain remind me of the paltriness of the original irritation but I never fail to feel renewed by such weather.
  • This result reflects the ruling arbitrariness in labour relations and the paltriness of the unions as counterpart to the State as employer.


Mid 16th century: apparently based on dialect pelt 'rubbish, especially rags'; compare with Low German paltrig 'ragged'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pal¦try

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