PITTANCE (through O. Fr. pitance, from Lat. pietas, lovingkindness), properly a gift to the members of a religious house for masses, consisting usually of an extra allowance of food or wine on occasions such as the anniversary of the donor's death, festivals and the like. The word was early transferred to a charitable donation and to any small gift of food or money.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)