verb (used with object)
- to reduce to poverty: a country impoverished by war.
- to make poor in quality, productiveness, etc.; exhaust the strength or richness of: Bad farming practices impoverished the soil.
- to make poor or diminish the quality ofto impoverish society by cutting the grant to the arts
- to deprive (soil, etc) of fertility
early 15c., empoverischen, from Old French empoveriss-, stem of empoverir, from em- + povre “poor” (see poor). Related: Impoverished; impoverishing.