From Middle Low German paltrig ("ragged, rubbishy, worthless"), from palter, palte, from Old Saxon *paltro, *palto, from Proto-Germanic *paltrô, *paltô. Cognate with Low German palterig ("ragged, torn"), dialectal German palterig ("paltry"). Compare also Low German palte ("rag"), West Frisian palt ("rag"), Saterland Frisian Palte ("strip; band; tape"), dialectal German Palter ("rag"), Danish pjalt ("rag, tatter"), Swedish palta ("rag"). See also palterly.
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