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Poverty vs Indigence vs Penury vs Want vs Destitution vs Privation

Poverty, indigencepenurywantdestitutionprivation all denote the state of one who is poor or without enough to live upon.

Poverty, the most comprehensive of these terms, typically implies such deficiency of resources that one is deprived of many of the necessities and of all of the comforts of life.

Indigence, often opposed to affluence, does not suggest dire or absolute poverty, but it does imply reduced or straitened circumstances and therefore usually connotes the endurance of many hardships and the lack of comforts.

Penury may or may not imply abject poverty, but it does suggest such a degree of need, especially of money, that one is cramped or oppressed by it.

But penury may imply the semblance of poverty that comes from miserliness or penuriousness (compare penurious under STINGY ).

Want (see also LACK 1 and  LACK 2) and destitution both imply an extreme of poverty that leaves one without the basic necessities of life; both terms, but especially the latter, often imply starvation and homelessness or the urgent need of help.

Privation, though implying a state that is comparable to the one suggested by indigence, does not, as the latter term does, necessarily suggest poverty; although it implies a condition of being without many of the comforts and sometimes of the necessities of existence or having only an insufficient supply of them, it may connote another cause of such a condition than a lack of money or of possessions of value.