I am looking for a pair of antonymous words with meaning similar to poor-rich, but slightly different:

  • Word A (the synonym of poor) should mean "a person who has exactly enough for surviving, but not more".
  • Word B (the synonym of rich) should mean "a person who has more than enough for surviving".

Also, the words A and B should be a matching pair.

Looking at thethesaurus.com, I found the word "meager" which looks like a good candidate for word A. However, I am not sure what its counterpart should be for word B.

  • Do you need strictly single words or will phrases work? I'm not sure that there's a single word (for each) that will mean what you want them to.
    – Catija
    Aug 22, 2015 at 22:18
  • I need single words. But the meaning can be approximate. Aug 22, 2015 at 22:21
  • Well, the counterpart to "meager", is "ample"... You might consider looking at that definition to see if it does what you're looking for. For example, someone with a "meager" salary, would be barely getting by but a person with an ample salary would have sufficient money to live on. They may not be well-off, but they aren't struggling, either.
    – Catija
    Aug 22, 2015 at 22:22
  • I looked at a dictionary but didn't quite understand if "meager" and "ample" can be adjectives for a person? Aug 22, 2015 at 22:27
  • 1
    I don't believe single words with the sense you want are in use in English. You'll have to coin your own: for instance, the common terms subsistence income and disposable income suggest the participials subsistent and disponent. But whatever you come up with you'll have to explain before you use it. Aug 22, 2015 at 23:20

1 Answer 1


To answer your question specifically, here are some words that mean a person who is poor and some that mean a person who is rich:

Poor person: pauper, mendicant, guttersnipe
Rich person: baron, magnate, tycoon, moneybags

In these examples, the words for a rich person are less formal than the ones for a poor person. For a rich person, you can use these, if you're willing to use more than one word:

person of means, person of substance (both formal), fat cat, deep pocket

On the other hand, in your comments you ask for adjectives that can be applied to a person. Some of these are:

Poor: impecunious, strapped, needy, unprosperous
Rich: wealthy, affluent, well-heeled/well-off/well-to-to, moneyed, prosperous

  • Which of the words you mention are matching pairs? Aug 23, 2015 at 4:32
  • You can pretty much pick one from each list, although some are more formal than others and will therefore give different flavors of meaning. I suggest that you look the words up in the dictionary and form your own ideas. Once you have done that, feel free to share your ideas and get reactions.
    – BobRodes
    Aug 24, 2015 at 1:53
  • None of "impecunious, strapped, needy, unprosperous" has the requested meaning of "a person who has exactly enough for surviving, but not more". Aug 27, 2015 at 16:02
  • @VictorBazarov: I'm sorry, but I don't agree with you. One of them has the precise meaning requested, two are very close, and one is a bit of a stretch. I prefer not to explain my reasons for saying so, because I would like the OP to look up the words and draw his own conclusions. But, feel free to refute my point of view if you should desire to do so. Perhaps it will be instructive for all of us.
    – BobRodes
    Sep 2, 2015 at 19:34

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .