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paltry (adj.)

"mean, worthless, despicable," 1560s, probably an adjectival use of noun paltry "worthless thing" (1550s), associated with dialectal palt, pelt "trash," cognate with Middle Low German and East Frisian palte "rag," Middle Dutch palt "broken or torn fragment." Similar formation in Low German paltrig "rubbishy," East Frisian palterig "ragged, torn."

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Definitions of paltry from WordNet

paltry (adj.)
not worth considering;
he considered the prize too paltry for the lives it must cost
Synonyms: negligible / trifling
paltry (adj.)
contemptibly small in amount;
a paltry wage
Synonyms: measly / miserable
From wordnet.princeton.edu