from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The threshold of poverty, below which one's income does not cover necessities.

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

  • n. a level of personal income defining the state of poverty


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  • "In the 1880s a businessman named Charles Booth set out to conduct a block-by-block survey of London to determine the economic and social well-being of its residents as a means of contesting the outrageous claims of socialists that poverty in England was vast and deep. ... Booth was stunned to find that the incidence of poverty actually was greater than even the socialists had proclaimed. He found that just over 30 percent of the city's population lived below the 'poverty line,' a term he invented."

    —Erik Larson, Thunderstruck (New York: Crown Publishers, 2006), 156–157

    July 7, 2009