“He often longed to join his friends at fancy bars for cocktails, but he lived an impecunious existence as a ‘starving artist.’”

According to what’s shown above, what is the best definition of impecunious?

Check your answer!

Choice A - Poor to the point of starvation and destitution
Choice B - Perpetually penniless and struggling to get by
Choice C - Committed to one’s life work and passion
Choice D - Skilled at artistry or other creative endeavors


Impecunious (adjective) – habitually having very little or no money

Impecuniousness/impecuniosity (noun) – the state of having little or no money

GRE pro tips:

Impecunious means without money, which makes sense when you know the roots. Take note here of the Latin root im, which means “without” (you see it in many GRE words) and the Latin pecunia, which connotes “money” or “wealth.” The word impecunious is typically used to describe people who are habitually penniless in such a way that they struggle to buy necessities. For instance, it may be used to describe a “starving artist” or a working-class family with 10 kids. However, impecunious is not typically used to describe extreme, desperate poverty, as words like destitute and indigent often do. You probably have a friend who is chronically broke and is never able to pay his fair share—you could accurately describe your penniless pal as impecunious.

Example sentences:

“Although she pretended to be from a prominent family, in reality, they were impecunious.”

“The allure of the artist’s life tempts many creative young people, but the reality of an  impecunious existence loses all but the most dedicated.”