American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Lacking in importance or worth. See Synonyms at trivial.
- adj. Wretched or contemptible.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Mean; worthless; despicable: as, a paltry trifle; often in a mitigated sense, of little value of consequence.
- Synonyms Despicable, Pitiful, etc. (see contemptible), insignificant, petty, miserable, wretched, trifling, trivial.
- n. A wretched, worthless trifle.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Mean; vile; worthless; despicable; contemptible; pitiful; trifling.
- adj. not worth considering
- adj. contemptibly small in amount
- From Middle Low German paltrig ("ragged, rubbishy, worthless"), from palter, palte ("cloth, rag, shred"), from Old Saxon *paltro, *palto (“cloth, rag”), from Proto-Germanic *paltrô, *paltô (“scrap, rag, patch”). Cognate with Eastern Frisian palterig ("ragged, torn"), German dialectal palterig ("paltry"). Compare also Low German palte ("rag"), West Frisian palt ("rag"), German dialectal Palter ("rag"), Danish pjalt ("rag, tatter"), Swedish palta ("rag"). See also palterly. (Wiktionary)
- Probably from obsolete and dialectal paltry, trash, perhaps from Low German paltrig, ragged, from palte, rag. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Haughty, proud, and uncompromising, though neither destitute of honor nor generosity, he despised and hated what he termed the paltry associations of herdsmen and shepherds, united with a few towns which subsisted chiefly by commerce; and instead of courting the Helvetian”
“I listened to Ebenezer Ato Sam aka Baby Ansaba on myjoyonline. com on 2nd February 2010 and I must say that he is an archetypal example of what gutter Accra are incensed over what they describe as paltry salaries and poor working conditions.”
“Let us not fag in paltry works which serve our pot and bag alone.”
“As you know, of course, the U.S. being criticized for what some called a paltry and slow response to this humanitarian crisis.”
“Boston, which was once again paltry on the power play.”
“And then, you whine and fret for what you yourself call a paltry matter!”
“Small societies of excluded lepers live miserably in paltry huts.”
“The King County Council called their paltry recommendation a "political victory" for us.”
“Purnell claims he calculated that had the Brown squirt (I refuse to call his paltry measure a stimulus) been carried out in the 1990s there would have been 300,000 fewer on the dole.”
“Chief Justice Robert called the paltry current pay, quote, "a direct threat to judicial independence.”
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