• WordNet 3.6
    • adj paltry contemptibly small in amount "a measly tip","the company donated a miserable $100 for flood relief","a paltry wage","almost depleted his miserable store of dried beans"
    • adj paltry not worth considering "he considered the prize too paltry for the lives it must cost","piffling efforts","a trifling matter"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • a paltry Mean; vile; worthless; despicable; contemptible; pitiful; trifling; as, a paltry excuse; paltry gold. "The paltry prize is hardly worth the cost."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • paltry Mean; worthless; despicable: as, a paltry trifle; often in a mitigated sense, of little value of consequence.
    • paltry Synonyms Despicable, Pitiful, etc. (see contemptible), insignificant, petty, miserable, wretched, trifling, trivial.
    • n paltry A wretched, worthless trifle.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Paltry pawl′tri mean: vile: worthless
    • ***


  • William Butler Yeats
    “An aged man is but a paltry thing, a tattered coat upon a stick”
  • Demosthenes
    “You cannot have a proud and chivalrous spirit if your conduct is mean and paltry; for whatever a man's actions are, such must be his spirit.”
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
    “Hitch your wagon to a star. Let us not fag in paltry works which serve our pot and bag alone.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Cf. Prov. E. paltry, refuse, rubbish, LG. palterig, ragged, palte, palter, a rag, a tatter, Dan. pialt, Sw. palta, pl. paltor,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Teut.; Dan. pialter, rags, Low Ger. paltrig, ragged.


In literature:

She looked upon him as mean and paltry because he was willing to submit to Mr. Camperdown.
"The Eustace Diamonds" by Anthony Trollope
And two ships despatched upon a paltry job of that sort!
"Springhaven" by R. D. Blackmore
Put in a paltry thousand or two, and you shall go halves.
"The Caxtons, Complete" by Edward Bulwer-Lytton
That dowry would more than cover the paltry debt upon the lands.
"What Will He Do With It, Complete" by Edward Bulwer-Lytton
I had at least his secret, if I had failed of the paltry supply he had drawn from its uses.
"A Strange Story, Complete" by Edward Bulwer-Lytton
And my marriage will take place so soon; and the dower would so amply cover the paltry advance required.
"My Novel, Complete" by Edward Bulwer-Lytton
Why not take up your abode there instead of in a paltry lodging in the town?
"Paul Clifford, Complete" by Edward Bulwer-Lytton
Meanwhile we will join capitals: I my paltry notes, you your grand name.
"The Parisians, Complete" by Edward Bulwer-Lytton
What are a few paltry pistoles to a man's life?
"Jack North's Treasure Hunt" by Roy Rockwood
You must be as great a blackguard as your client, to serve your paltry writs on me in my own house.
"A Terrible Temptation" by Charles Reade
We listened readily enough to this paltry gossip, but found that it robbed the poet's memory of some of the reverence that was its due.
"Our Old Home" by Nathaniel Hawthorne
But Yulia Mihailovna would not agree to it: her proud spirit revolted from paltry compromise.
"The Possessed" by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The present Great Mogul has so little taste, that he has had this divan divided into two parts by a very paltry partition wall.
"A Woman's Journey Round the World" by Ida Pfeiffer
Then, this fairy at his elbow is paltry, and too near him besides.
"M. or N. "Similia similibus curantur."" by G.J. Whyte-Melville
Why we're arst to slave from mornin' till night, and our pay is paltry.
"Punch, Volume 156, 26 March 1919" by Various
Of these I have scarcely smashed and starved a paltry hundred thousand perhaps by the way.
"What is Coming?" by H. G. Wells
Far different from the other chambers, the one into which the Rabbi was next introduced, was a mean and paltry apartment, without furniture.
"The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction," by Various
The conflict is cleared of all false pretence and paltry excuses.
"Through the Iron Bars" by Emile Cammaerts
I had still left a paltry house, and that I have seen pillaged and destroyed.
"Library of the World's Best Mystery and Detective Stories" by Edited by Julian Hawthorne
In Congress they had only paltried with, it; now the people were to try their hand.
"Personal Recollections of Pardee Butler" by Pardee Butler

In poetry:

Man never yet has loved a maid,
But they were sure to part, sir;
Nor never lacked a paltry spade
But that he drew a heart, sir!
"Long Meter" by Eugene Field
'But I must take the horse from him,
And with it to my lady ride,
Ev'n though I know this paltry act
Befits no honest man of pride.
"Gamzrdeli" by Akaki Tsereteli
The great Earth said to the poet,
"What are your paltry wrongs,
That still you must worship your sorrows,
And fashion them into songs?
"The Secret Of Nature" by Alexander Anderson
They sing, but what is their singing?
And what are their paltry words
To the music that had no sadness
In the house of the singing birds?
"The House Of The Singing Birds" by Alexander Anderson
The story dear our wise men fable call,
Give paltry facts the mighty range;
To me it seems just what should fall,
And nothing very strange.
"The Healer" by George MacDonald
The same old world of greed and hate,
Of selfish act and paltry aim,
Of private fraud and venal State,
Of deeds and doers steeped in shame!
"Dreamland" by John Lawson Stoddard

In news:

At press time, Hurricane Isaac is stalled over New Orleans moving at a paltry six miles per hour, and while East Texas should get a pretty good soaking tomorrow (August 30), Lufkin is not expected to shelter evacuees .
Paltry investment means capacity isn't keeping pace with growth in the number of vehicles on Va. From the RoundTable blog.
I am surprised that the Flint Journal's endorsement can be bought for a paltry few million in spending for Flint, especially when this president is spreading trillions around the country.
Postal Service Drain Leaves Week's Pay as Paltry Cushion.
LONDON – Central banks, among the most conservative asset managers in the world, are buying more stocks because of the paltry returns and negative yields available from top-rated sovereign bonds.
Central banks, among the most conservative asset managers in the world, are buying more stocks because of the paltry returns and negative yields available from top-rated sovereign bonds.
Paltry showing at Johnny Pesky funeral an embarrassment.
Mavericks-Thunder playoff series posts paltry 6.9 combined TV rating.
Will mines get state's riches for a paltry sum.
America's Paltry Energy R&D Spending.
Commission Rejects Paltry Fine for Fatal Jim Walters Explosion.
Apple Will Pay For Paltry Samsung Apology.
Early adopters report Win 8 installs in a paltry 18 to 25 minutes.
New York-based companies like ABM, Pritchard and JP Morgan Chase are all contractors of the Houston janitors that, until yesterday, refused to increase the paltry $9,000 a year average wage for janitors .
Party electorate a paltry 26.