Learn 20 Expressions Related to Poverty

Poverty is a challenging and pervasive issue worldwide, affecting millions of people daily. Understanding the language and expressions related to poverty can help in discussing and addressing this significant social problem. Here are 20 expressions that provide insight into the struggles and realities of living in poverty.

1. Down and Out

Meaning: Destitute
Example: He’s down and out after losing his job.

2. Make Ends Meet

Meaning: Cover expenses
Example: She struggles to make ends meet each month.

3. Dirt Poor

Meaning: Extremely poor
Example: The family was dirt poor and had nothing.

4. On the Breadline

Meaning: Very poor
Example: They live on the breadline, barely surviving.

5. Living Hand to Mouth

Meaning: Barely surviving
Example: He lives hand to mouth without any savings.

6. Tighten One’s Belt

Meaning: Reduce spending
Example: We had to tighten our belts during the recession.

7. Scrape By

Meaning: Barely manage
Example: They scrape by on a small pension.

8. On the Dole

Meaning: Receiving welfare
Example: He’s been on the dole since he was laid off.

9. In Dire Straits

Meaning: In serious trouble
Example: The company is in dire straits financially.

10. Go Without

Meaning: Lack necessities
Example: Many children go without proper meals.

11. Hard Up

Meaning: Short of money
Example: I’m hard up this month, can’t afford luxuries.

12. Penniless

Meaning: Having no money
Example: After the scam, she was left penniless.

13. Below the Poverty Line

Meaning: Extremely poor
Example: Many families live below the poverty line.

14. Flat Broke

Meaning: Completely out of money
Example: I’m flat broke until payday.

15. Down to One’s Last Penny

Meaning: Almost out of money
Example: I’m down to my last penny after the bills.

16. In the Red

Meaning: In debt
Example: His account is constantly in the red.

17. Go Bust

Meaning: Become bankrupt
Example: The company went bust after losing its major client.

18. Hand to Mouth

Meaning: Living with minimal resources
Example: They live hand to mouth without savings.

19. Cash-Strapped

Meaning: Lacking money
Example: The cash-strapped business couldn’t pay its bills.

20. On Skid Row

Meaning: Living in poor conditions
Example: He ended up on skid row after losing everything.

Expressions Related to Poverty