(redirected from Poorhouses)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.


n. Derogatory
An establishment maintained at public expense as housing for the homeless.


(ˈpʊəˌhaʊs; ˈpɔː-)
(Historical Terms) (formerly) a publicly maintained institution offering accommodation to the poor



n., pl. -hous•es (-ˌhaʊ zɪz)
(formerly) an institution for paupers maintained at public expense.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.poorhouse - an establishment maintained at public expense in order to provide housing for the poor and homeless
establishment - a public or private structure (business or governmental or educational) including buildings and equipment for business or residence
workhouse - a poorhouse where able-bodied poor are compelled to labor


[ˈpʊəhaʊs] N (poorhouses (pl)) [ˈpʊəhaʊzɪz]asilo m de los pobres
References in classic literature ?
said the doctor, who had served an unholy apprenticeship to his trade in Tralee poorhouses.
He supported almost singlehanded a poorhouse the order had founded in Petersburg.
He was too occupied with his own vision, and vividly burned before him the sordid barrenness of a poorhouse ward, where an ancient, very like what he himself would become, maundered and gibbered and drooled for a crumb of tobacco for his old clay pipe, and where, of all horrors, no sip of beer ever obtained, much less six quarts of it.
And think of the simple ways of this court: this wandering wench hadn't any more trouble to get access to the king in his palace than she would have had to get into the poorhouse in my day and country.
Reed: she keeps you: if she were to turn you off, you would have to go to the poorhouse.
There ain't no difference dyin' in battle or in the poorhouse.
One forlorn fragment of dollanity had belonged to Jo and, having led a tempestuous life, was left a wreck in the rag bag, from which dreary poorhouse it was rescued by Beth and taken to her refuge.
You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse.
That good man would think himself disgraced if he went into the poorhouse or begged for his bread; he would choose to die pickaxe in hand, out in the open, in the sunlight.
With medicare and modern medicine, we're worlds away from the poorhouses of 19th century novels, where the infirmities of old age left thousands to die in horrific circumstances.
Beside the dominant notion of work as an antidote to laziness and fraud in Reformation Europe, practical reasons often led to the transformation of poorhouses to factory-scale workhouses.
These institutions were more likely to be poorhouses or almshouses which were a form of charitable housing for impoverished and aged members of a particular society or community.