90+ Synonyms for “Poor” with Examples | Another Word for “Poor”

Exploring the many synonyms for “poor” can be incredibly useful, whether we’re trying to add variation to our writing or aiming to express a concept with more nuance. The word “poor” itself is quite versatile, describing a lack of financial resources, inferior quality, or insufficient amounts. Whether we’re writing a compelling story, a persuasive essay, or simply trying to articulate a specific point, choosing the right synonym can make all the difference.

Poor Synonyms

Another Word for Poor | 100+ Synonyms for "Poor" with Useful Examples

What Is “Poor”?

Poor is an adjective often used to describe a lack of financial resources or material possessions. It also extends to quality, indicating something that is not meeting satisfactory standards.

List of Synonyms for Poor

  • Impoverished
  • Needy
  • Penniless
  • Destitute
  • Indigent
  • Deprived
  • Underprivileged
  • Impecunious
  • Insolvent
  • Hard-up
  • Strapped
  • Bankrupt
  • Beggarly
  • Poverty-stricken
  • Hand-to-mouth
  • Down-and-out
  • Economically disadvantaged
  • Financially strapped
  • In need
  • In want
  • Lacking
  • Scanty
  • Downtrodden
  • Hardscrabble
  • Threadbare
  • Begging
  • Distressed
  • Imbued with poverty
  • Skint (British slang)
  • Broke
  • Moneyless
  • Low-income
  • Meager
  • Bare
  • Deficient
  • Disadvantaged
  • Necessitous
  • Penurious
  • Short
  • Unfortunate
  • Wanting
  • Suffering
  • Unprosperous
  • In dire straits
  • On the breadline
  • Pecuniary embarrassed
  • Struggling
  • Underfunded
  • Unmoneyed
  • Cash-strapped
  • Pinched
  • Dirt-poor
  • Flat broke
  • In the red
  • Reduced
  • Resourceless
  • Bust
  • Cleaned out
  • Dead broke
  • Inadequate
  • Stretched
  • At a disadvantage
  • Down on one’s luck
  • Empty-handed
  • In straitened circumstances
  • Low-paid
  • On one’s uppers
  • Stone broke
  • Unable to make ends meet
  • Unendowed
  • Unsubstantial
  • In a financial bind
  • On the edge of poverty
  • Straitened
  • Unaffluent
  • Crunched
  • Down to last penny
  • Stinted
  • Suffering from hardship
  • Under-endowed
  • Up against it
  • Vulnerable
  • Without means
  • Without resource

Types of Synonyms for Poor

Financial Status

  • Impoverished: Lacking financial resources and possessions.
  • Destitute: Without the basic necessities of life.
  • Bankrupt: Unable to pay one’s debts.
  • Needy: In need, especially financially.
  • Indigent: Seriously lacking in means of subsistence.


  • Deficient: Lacking in some element or aspect; inadequate.
  • Inadequate: Not sufficient; not up to the required standard.
  • Substandard: Below the usual or required standard.

Physical Condition

  • Unfortunate: Marked by or deserving of bad luck.
  • Underprivileged: Deprived of the economic, social, and cultural benefits that others have.
  • Disadvantaged: Lacking compared to others in terms of resources or opportunities.

Common Synonyms for Poor

Poor vs. Impoverished

Impoverished refers to a state of poverty that is often extended and systemic, unlike the general term poor which can simply indicate a lack of wealth.

  • They could barely afford the rent, making them one of the poor families in the city.
  • After the factory closed, the entire town found itself in an impoverished state.

Poor vs. Needy

Needy signifies a desperate need for the basics of life, emphasizing a dire situation. Meanwhile, poor can be used more broadly to describe insufficient financial means.

  • Their poor circumstances didn’t allow for any extra spending.
  • We organized a fundraiser to help the needy individuals affected by the crisis.

Poor vs. Indigent

Indigent is a more formal term that describes extreme poverty, where individuals are unable to provide for themselves, contrasting with the more commonly used poor.

  • Many artists live a poor lifestyle, prioritizing their craft over material wealth.
  • The legal system provides attorneys for indigent defendants who can’t afford one.

Poor vs. Broke

Broke is a casual term often implying a temporary lack of money, as opposed to poor, which may suggest a continuous state of financial hardship.

  • The poor neighborhood lacked essential resources.
  • After paying all the bills, they were completely broke until the next paycheck.

Synonyms for Poor in Different Contexts

Financial Hardship

  • Impoverished: We visited an impoverished area where many live below the poverty line.
  • Needy: During the holidays, we donate clothes to needy families in our community.
  • Destitute: After the economic crisis, he went from wealthy to destitute in a short time.

Quality or Standard

  • Subpar: Our experience at the hotel was subpar due to the poor service.
  • Inferior: The knock-off product was obviously inferior to the brand-name original.
  • Deficient: The apartment was deficient in basic amenities like running water.

Health and Wellbeing

  • Frail: After the surgery, she was left in a frail condition.
  • Feeble: The neglected plant in the corner of the room looked feeble and withered.

Fertility of Land

  • Barren: The garden’s soil was too barren to produce a good crop.
  • Unfertile: Our attempts to farm the land were unsuccessful due to its unfertile nature.

Absolute and Near Synonyms of Poor

Absolute Synonyms for Poor

Word Definition
Impoverished Lacking financial resources or wealth.
Needy In dire need of the basic necessities of life.
Penniless Without any money whatsoever.
Destitute Lacking the means to live in a standard deemed acceptable.
Indigent Experiencing want or need due to a lack of financial resources.

Near Synonyms for Poor

Word Definition
Impoverished Having very little means, often linked to poverty.
Bankrupt Legally declared unable to pay outstanding debts.
Insolvent Unable to pay debts owed, generally referring to companies or entities.
Necessitous Pressed by need; in a state of financial or material want.
Underprivileged Lacking the advantages that others have; disadvantaged.

Synonyms for Poor with Examples | Infographic

Another Word for Poor | 100+ Synonyms for "Poor" with Useful Examples

Frequently Asked Questions

What are alternative words to describe someone with little money?

When describing someone with little money, we can use terms like ‘impoverished,’ ‘needy,’ ‘indigent,’ or ‘impecunious.’ Each word varies slightly in connotation but effectively communicates financial scarcity.

How do I refer to something of very low quality without using the word ‘poor’?

To describe something of low quality, we might say it’s ‘substandard,’ ‘inferior,’ or ‘shoddy.’ Such words specifically address the quality aspect without using the word ‘poor.’

What are some informal or slang terms used to describe a poor person?

In informal situations, slang terms such as ‘broke,’ ‘penniless,’ or ‘down and out’ can be used. These terms are more colloquial and should be used carefully to avoid offense.

What terms can I use to describe extreme economic hardship elegantly?

To elegantly describe extreme economic hardship, phrases like ‘financially distressed,’ or ‘under economic strain’ are appropriate. They convey the gravity of the situation with a measure of dignity.

What are some opposite words to ‘poor’ in the context of wealth?

Opposite terms to ‘poor’ concerning wealth include ‘wealthy,’ ‘affluent,’ ‘prosperous,’ or ‘well-to-do.’ These words signify a substantial level of financial resources or assets.

What is a respectful way to refer to families facing financial difficulties?

We can refer to families facing financial difficulties as those ‘experiencing economic challenges’ or ‘navigating financial hardship.’ These phrases are respectful and empathetic towards the situation.