Pittance

An allowance of victuals over and above bread and wine. Anthony du Pinet, in his translation of Pliny, applies the term over and over again to figs and beans. The word originally comes from the people's piety in giving to poor mendicants food for their subsistence. (Probably connected with pietas. Monkish Latin, pietancia; Spanish, pitar, to distribute a dole of food; pitancero, one who distributes the dole, or a begging friar who subsists by charity.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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