Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A meager monetary allowance, wage, or remuneration.
  • noun A very small amount.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An allowance or dole of food and drink; hence, any very small portion or allowance assigned or given, whether of food or money; allowance; provision; dole.
  • noun An allowance of food or money bestowed in charity; a small charitable gift or payment.
  • noun A small portion or quantity; a morsel.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun An allowance of food bestowed in charity; a mess of victuals; hence, a small charity gift; a dole.
  • noun A meager portion, quantity, or allowance; an inconsiderable salary or compensation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A small allowance of food and drink; a scanty meal.
  • noun A meagre allowance of money or wages.
  • noun A small amount.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an inadequate payment

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English pitance, from Old French, allowance of food to a monk or poor person, from Medieval Latin pietantia, from *pietāns, *pietant-, present participle of *pietāre, to show compassion, from Latin pietās, piety; see pity.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin pietantia

Examples

  • The Overland, having in fact infinitely more prestige than cash, promised the 23-year-old author $5 for his story but delayed payment so insistently that London had to storm the office and almost literally shake the pittance from the trousers of the magazine's editor.

    “. . .confusion to the Mounted Police!”

  • As he's presently unemployed, my pittance is helping keep food on the table.

    Up The Hill Backwards

  • I don´t even want to consider what that 600 sf apartment on Russian Hill we sold for a pittance is worth today.

    Rainy Season? What�s That?

  • I don´t even want to consider what that 600 sf apartment on Russian Hill we sold for a pittance is worth today.

    Rainy Season? What�s That?

  • I don´t even want to consider what that 600 sf apartment on Russian Hill we sold for a pittance is worth today.

    Rainy Season? What�s That?

  • I don´t even want to consider what that 600 sf apartment on Russian Hill we sold for a pittance is worth today.

    Rainy Season? What�s That?

  • I don´t even want to consider what that 600 sf apartment on Russian Hill we sold for a pittance is worth today.

    Rainy Season? What�s That?

  • I don´t even want to consider what that 600 sf apartment on Russian Hill we sold for a pittance is worth today.

    Rainy Season? What�s That?

  • Or should be grateful for whatever pittance is tossed their general direction despite the fact no other industry "expects" this.

    Back on Track...

  • I don´t even want to consider what that 600 sf apartment on Russian Hill we sold for a pittance is worth today.

    Rainy Season? What�s That?

Comments

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  • "An inadequate payment"

    August 13, 2007

  • pittance..pit reverse tip..
    Small amount

    November 13, 2013

  • "When Suger of Saint-Denis lay dying of malaria in 1137, he summoned the monks and decreed two pittances* of spiced wine, plus wheat and wine for the poor.

    *The original sense of a pittance was a bequest to a religious house, whence it came to designate a small dietary allowance to the monks. The sense here is of modest sufficiency."

    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 276

    December 6, 2016