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Word of the Day - for Toastmasters everywhere
Friday 7th May 2021
Archive | Previous word | Today's word |

penury (noun) PEN-yur-ee

Lack, want, extreme poverty.

Poor Jurgis, who had in truth grown more matter-of-fact, under the endless pressure of penury, would not know what to make of these things, and could only try to recollect when he had last been cross; and so Ona would have to forgive him and sob herself to sleep.

Upton Sinclair, The Jungle. Amazon

She was only a couple of years shy of 60 when she began to write, after a near-lifetime that began in a degree of privilege and descended into a maelstrom of penury, marriage to a shiftless alcoholic, the struggle to support her family and a series of erratic house moves.

Richard Eder, The New York Times, 31 August 2000, New York Times
reviewing Penelope Fitzgerald's The Knox Brothers. Amazon

I am very glad to have this opportunity to raise a somewhat unusual subject - a matter relating to intelligence and a former KGB agent who worked for the British security services and eventually defected to the UK, aided and abetted by our security services, and is now living in the north of England in circumstances of penury, which I believe shows the UK in a bad light.

Peter Atkinson, Commons Hansard, Commons Hansard

There is almost no political debate about how to keep an ageing population from pain and penury, let alone how to provide what the elderly need and deserve.

Mary Riddell, The Observer, 14 October 2007. The Observer

In Austen's world, banks fail and dodgy businessmen run off with the takings, plunging decent people into penury.

Kathryn Hughes, The Guardian, 9 March 2007. Guardian

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