impoverish

To impoverish is to take away a person's livelihood. When a drought ruins a farmer's crop and he has nothing to harvest, his bad luck may leave him and his family impoverished, or poor.

The Latin prefix in- is changed to im when in front of a word starting with the letter p-, but its meaning "in" or "into" stays the same. With roots in the French word povre meaning "poor," impoverish means to make poor or drive someone "into poverty." The 2010 earthquake in Haiti left over a million people impoverished, destroying everything they owned.

Definitions of impoverish
  1. verb
    make poor
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    Antonyms:
    enrich
    make wealthy or richer
    types:
    reduce
    lessen and make more modest
    beggar, pauperise, pauperize
    reduce to beggary
    bankrupt, break, ruin, smash
    reduce to bankruptcy
    type of:
    deprive
    keep from having, keeping, or obtaining
  2. verb
    take away
    synonyms: deprive
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    Antonyms:
    enrich
    make better or improve in quality
    types:
    disestablish
    deprive (an established church) of its status
    type of:
    decline, worsen
    grow worse
Word Family