S: http://www.who.int/dg/speeches/2012/health_ethics_20121113/en/ (last access: 5 April 2015); http://www.theguardian.com/uk/the-northerner/2012/nov/26/welfare-poverty (last access: 5 April 2015).

N: 1. late 14c., “condition of external unhappiness,” from Old French misere “miserable situation, misfortune, distress” (12c.), from Latin miseria “wretchedness,” from miser (see miser). Meaning “condition of one in great sorrow or mental distress” is from 1530s. Meaning “bodily pain” is 1825, American English.
First Known Use of MISERY: 14th century.
2. “Poverty, material deprivation, oppression inflicted by those who have power are hard to bear. What is truly insufferable however is being despised and continuously reminded that one is an inferior and utterly useless being. Being treated as a person without dignity even by one’s own is virtually intolerable. “People treat us like nobodies…. Are we dogs to be kicked around as we are at the Town Hall?”
3. This is where the difference lies between poverty and misery. A person in misery suffers an unbearable situation, being considered negligible or, worse, a pernicious being who should never have been born, while deep inside he still knows he is a person. To long for dignity, to dream of being someone and yet to be denied this even by those hardly better off than oneself: the neighbors, the grocer, the mail carrier,… that is misery. And that is what makes the difference between poverty and exclusion”.
4. Collocations:

  • Adj.: abject, deep, extreme, great, real, sheer, untold | complete | personal | human | economic.
  • Verb + misery: be full of, be wrapped (up) in, endure, feel, live in, sink into, suffer | bring (sb), cause (sb) | add to, heap, prolong create | alleviate, ease, relieve | put sb/sth out of | spare sb | forget.
  • Prep.:. ~ of the sheer misery of homelessness.
  • Phrases: a feeling of misery, make sb’s life a misery His constant criticism made her life a misery.

5. Cultural Interrelation: We can mention the novel Oliver Twist (1837) written by Charles Dickens (1812-1870), this character represents the misery of poverty in 1830s England.

S: 1. OED – http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=misery&searchmode=none (last access: 5 April 2015); MW – http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misery (last access: 5 April 2015). 2 & 3. http://www.joseph-wresinski.org/Poverty-and-misery.html (last access: 5 April 2015). 4. http://www2.sdfi.edu.cn/netclass/jiaoan/englit/englit/7-Realism/twist.htm (last access: 5 April 2015); http://www.biography.com/people/charles-dickens-9274087 (last access: 5 April 2015).


CR: inequalities, misery, poverty, underprivileged.