Definition of paltry in English:


Line breaks: pal¦try
Pronunciation: /ˈpɔːltri
, ˈpɒl-/

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.
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


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



More 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.

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cause (someone) to lose confidence or hope