- a small amount or share.
- a small allowance or sum, as of money for living expenses.
- a scanty income or remuneration.
- a small amount or portion, esp a meagre allowance of money
n.c.1200, “pious donation to a religious house or order to provide extra food; the extra food provided,” also “a small portion, scanty rations,” from Old French pitance “pity, mercy, compassion; refreshment, nourishment; portion of food allowed a monk or poor person by a pious bequest,” apparently literally “pity,” from pitié (see pity). Meaning “small amount, portion” first recorded 1560s.