AskDefine | Define pittance

Dictionary Definition

pittance n : an inadequate payment; "they work all day for a mere pittance"

User Contributed Dictionary



From Latin pietantia


  1. A small allowance of food and drink; a scanty meal.
  2. A meagre allowance of money or wages.
  3. A small amount.


Extensive Definition

Pittance (through French pitance and from Latin pietas, loving kindness) is a gift to the members of a religious house for masses, consisting usually of an extra allowance of food or wine on occasions such as the anniversary of the donor's death festivals and other similar occasions. The word was early transferred to a charitable donation and to any small gift of food or money.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

ace, alms, alms fee, atom, bit, charity, collection, contribution, dab, dole, donation, donative, dot, dram, dribble, driblet, dwarf, farthing, fleck, flyspeck, fragment, gobbet, grain, granule, groat, hair, half rations, handful, handout, inadequacy, insufficiency, iota, jot, little, little bit, mere subsistence, minim, minimum, minutiae, mite, modicum, molecule, mote, nutshell, offering, offertory, ounce, particle, peanuts, pebble, pinch, point, scrap, scrimption, scruple, shoestring, short allowance, short commons, small potatoes, smidgen, smitch, speck, spoonful, spot, starvation wages, subscription, thimbleful, tiny bit, tithe, tittle, trace, trifling amount, trivia, votive offering, whit
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