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penury (noun) utter poverty.
A person in penury is a person in utter poverty. A number of families living in penury are a number of families living in severe poverty.
- Starving, without a home, and with no decent clothes to wear, he was a picture of penury itself. This unbearable poverty forced him to become a criminal.
- Though reduced to penury, he remained dignified. In spite of his poverty he would never beg of anyone or seek a favor. He would rather starve and die than beg.