Definition of impoverish in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪmˈpɒv(ə)rɪʃ/


[with object]
1Make (a person or area) poor: the wars had impoverished him (as adjective impoverished) impoverished villages
More example sentences
  • The shirts will then be distributed to some of the most impoverished areas of the Macedonian capital.
  • The costs of treatment or even testing for the disease is seen as prohibitive in such impoverished areas.
  • Such companies, the argument goes, exploit poor workers abroad and impoverish workers at home by moving capital overseas.
make poor, make penniless, reduce to penury, reduce to destitution, bring to ruin, bring someone to their knees, bankrupt, ruin, make insolvent;
wipe out, clean out, break, cripple
rare pauperize, beggar
poor, poverty-stricken, penniless, penurious, destitute, indigent, impecunious, needy, pauperized, in distressed/reduced/straitened circumstances, in want, in need, down and out, on the breadline;
bankrupt, ruined, insolvent, wiped out, cleaned out, broken, crippled, without a penny to one's name
informal broke, flat broke, stony broke, on one's uppers, strapped (for cash), on one's beam ends, bust, hard up, without two pennies/farthings to rub together, without a bean, without a sou, as poor as a church mouse, on skid row
British informal skint, without a shot in one's locker
British rhyming slang boracic (lint)
North American informal stone broke, without a red cent
rare beggared
1.1Exhaust the strength or vitality of: the soil was impoverished by annual burning (as adjective impoverished) an impoverished and debased language
More example sentences
  • Prolonged military confrontation… will impoverish our resources and strength, while retarding our march to civilization by at least a hundred years.
  • They impoverish soil and destroy habitat, including wetlands.
  • All those obscenities and repeated slang phrases may be authentic but they tend to impoverish the language of his books.
weaken, sap, exhaust, drain, empty, diminish, deplete, enervate, suck dry
informal bleed
weakened, exhausted, drained, sapped, diminished, depleted, enervated, sucked dry, used up, spent, played out;
barren, unproductive, unfertile, arid, uncultivatable


Late Middle English (formerly also as empoverish): from Old French empoveriss-, lengthened stem of empoverir, based on povre 'poor'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: im|pov¦er|ish

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