2017-02-15 / Irregular Regulars

IRREDIOMS ~ A look at common idioms

Phrases, sayings & expressions, what they mean & where they came from

A pittance

A paltry amount; a scanty sum

Pittance originally referred a sum money or amount of food donated to monks or to assist the poor —a pious donation in other words. The word itself is derived from piety and pity. That it has become synonymous with a very tiny amount of money may be a commentary on the size of those donations.

Although he claims to be generous, his donation to the local food pantry was a pittance.

Return to top