see PITY
* * *
   The word was originally used for a donation made out of pity, as form of piety (the two words are related). Hence its ultimate origin in Latin pietas, 'dutifulness,' 'pity.'

The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins. 2013.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • pittance — pit‧tance [ˈpɪtns] noun [singular] a very small or unfairly small amount of money: • She gets paid a pittance. * * * pittance UK US /ˈpɪtəns/ noun [S] DISAPPROVING ► a very small amount of money, especially money received as income: earn …   Financial and business terms

  • Pittance — Pit tance (p[i^]t tans), n. [OE. pitance, pitaunce, F. pitance; cf. It. pietanza, LL. pitancia, pittantia, pictantia; perh. fr. L. pietas pity, piety, or perhaps akin to E. petty. Cf. {Petty}, and {Pity}.] 1. An allowance of food bestowed in… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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 …   Wikipedia

  • pittance — index paucity, ration Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • pittance — early 13c., pious donation to a religious house or order to provide extra food, from O.Fr. pitance portion of food allowed a monk or poor person by a pious bequest, lit. pity, from pitié (see PITY (Cf. pity)). Meaning small amount, portion first… …   Etymology dictionary

  • pittance — *ration, allowance, dole …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • pittance — [n] small amount allowance, bit, chicken feed*, dribble*, drop*, drop in the bucket*, inadequacy, insufficiency, mite, modicum, peanuts*, pension, portion, ration, scrap*, slave wages*, smidgen, trace, trifle; concepts 344,787 Ant. generosity,… …   New thesaurus

  • pittance — ► NOUN ▪ a very small or inadequate amount of money. ORIGIN originally denoting a small bequest to a religious establishment to provide extra food and wine for a festival: from Old French pitance, from Latin pietas pity …   English terms dictionary

  • pittance — [pit′ ns] n. [ME pitaunce < OFr pitance, portion of food allowed a monk < ML pietantia < LL(Ec) pietas: see PIETY] 1. a small or barely sufficient allowance of money 2. any small amount or share …   English World dictionary

  • pittance — pit|tance [ˈpıtəns] n [singular] [Date: 1200 1300; : Old French; Origin: pitance piety, pity , from Latin pietas; PITY1] a very small amount of money, especially wages, that is less than someone needs or deserves earn/be paid a pittance ▪ The… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • pittance — n. (formal) a mere, small pittance * * * [ pɪt(ə)ns] small pittance (formal) a mere …   Combinatory dictionary

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