Note: Our Sixth Annual 15-Second Vocabulary Video Challenge is underway. It will run until Feb. 20.
pittance ˈpi-tᵊn(t)s noun
: an inadequate payment
The word pittance has appeared in 37 articles on NYTimes.com in the past year, including on June 22 in the Opinion essay “The Perfect Soundtrack for My Grief” by Kathleen O’Brien:
When we started our search for her successor, we were astounded by the number of applicants willing to move cross-country for an extremely modest salary. At first, we assumed these out-of-state applicants didn’t grasp our likely salary range and the cost of living in our neck of suburban New York.
But no, it turned out there are so few conductor openings, and the job is so rewarding, the applicants were willing to upend their lives for a pittance. When I mentioned my surprise to one of the applicants, he answered, “Conducting is such a fulfilling act: When things go right, it truly makes you feel much greater than just one mortal person.”