ill

adjective
\ ˈil \
worse\ ˈwərs \; worst\ ˈwərst \

Definition of ill

 (Entry 1 of 6)

1a comparative also iller; superlative also illest

(1) : not in good health also : nauseated
(2) : not normal or sound ill health
b : causing suffering or distress ill weather
2 : unfriendly, hostile ill feeling
3a : not suited to circumstances or not to one's advantage : unlucky an ill omen
b : involving difficulty : hard
4a : attributing evil or an objectionable quality held an ill opinion of his neighbors
b : resulting from, accompanied by, or indicative of an evil or malevolent intention ill deeds
c chiefly Scotland : immoral, vicious
5a : not meeting an accepted standard ill manners
b archaic : notably unskillful or inefficient

ill

adverb
worse; worst

Definition of ill (Entry 2 of 6)

1a : in a faulty, inefficient, insufficient, or unpleasant manner often used in combination the methods used may be ill-adapted to the aims in view— R. M. Hutchins
b : in an unfortunate manner : badly, unluckily ill fares the land … where wealth accumulates, and men decay— Oliver Goldsmith
2 : hardly, scarcely can ill afford such extravagances
3a : so as to reflect unfavorably spoke ill of the neighbors
b : with displeasure or hostility
c : in a harsh manner
4 : in a reprehensible manner

ill

noun

Definition of ill (Entry 3 of 6)

b(1) : ailment, sickness
(2) : something that disturbs or afflicts : trouble economic and social ills
2 : something that reflects unfavorably spoke no ill of him
3 : the reverse of good : evil

ill

abbreviation (1)

Definition of ill (Entry 4 of 6)

illustrated; illustration; illustrator

Ill

abbreviation (2)

Definition of Ill (Entry 5 of 6)

Illinois

Ill

geographical name
\ ˈēl \

Definition of Ill (Entry 6 of 6)

river 129 miles (208 kilometers) long in northeastern France flowing into the Rhine River

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Examples of ill in a Sentence

Adjective

That dog can eat almost anything with no ill effects. They had been subjected to months of ill treatment.

Adverb

He is being ill served by his advisers. Please don't think ill of me. He was a good man who never spoke ill of anyone.

Noun

chicken pox and the other ills that were once a fixture of childhood idealistic people who try to cure all of our society's ills
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

We will not be deterred in any way by ill-informed and illegitimate attacks on this important work. Joshua Jamerson, WSJ, "Rep. Ilhan Omar Apologizes for Remarks About Pro-Israel Group," 11 Feb. 2019 Knowing that the King was too ill to travel, Elizabeth set off on the Commonwealth tour with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh (who became Prince Philip in 1957). Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "The Heartbreaking Way Queen Elizabeth II Learned About the Death of Her Father, King George VI," 1 Feb. 2019 When many people think of rabies, ideas from popular culture may dominate: Stephen King’s murderous Saint Bernard, Cujo, or the tragically ill Old Yeller. Tara C. Smith, SELF, "What Happens When You Get Rabies? An Epidemiologist Explains," 24 Jan. 2019 No person should be forced to choose between advancing in their careers and starting a family or caring for an ill parent. Iman Hariri-kia, Teen Vogue, "Meet Will Haskell, the 22-Year-Old Who Beat a Republican Who Had Been in Office as Long as He’s Been Alive," 14 Nov. 2018 The legendary country singer, 61, who was slated for an epic performance to honor Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Ricky Skaggs, had to miss the 52nd annual award show last night after falling ill. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Vince Gill Didn't Show Up at the 2018 CMA Awards Because He Was Hospitalized," 15 Nov. 2018 Over the last month, 19 children in a care home in New Jersey have fallen ill with adenovirus infections. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "A look at the virus behind seven deaths at a New Jersey facility," 25 Oct. 2018 This packable chopping board, complete with a full-size chef’s knife, can go wherever your recipient needs, be it a campsite or a relative’s ill-equipped kitchen. Isaiah Freeman-schub, WSJ, "Senior Market Editor Isaiah Freeman-Schub’s Holiday Gift Guide: Man of the World," 12 Dec. 2018 The prosperous plant represented everlasting life, peace, and opulence, which was important because winter was a time when their sun god, Ra, was ill and weak, reports History.com. Nicol Natale, Woman's Day, "Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?," 15 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Some of his more vocal supporters stirred his anger, including Fox News commentator Jeanine Pirro, who has railed repeatedly on her weekly show that the president is being ill-served by the Justice Department. Maggie Haberman, The Seattle Times, "Trump pushed for Justice Dept. prosecution of Clinton, Comey," 20 Nov. 2018 Cash, played with laconic charm by Stanfield, is a relatable hero, but Detroit is ill-served by Riley’s script, existing primarily to explain the film’s heavier themes and scold her boyfriend for his ethical lapses. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Sorry to Bother You Is Fizzy, Flawed, and Fascinating," 6 July 2018 Service is quick and casual — and, at times, ill-timed. Michael Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle, "Wursthall in San Mateo at its best with beer & brat," 18 May 2018 Yet the ad was ill-timed, launching just 16 days before the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Emily L. Mahoney And Mary Ellen Klas, miamiherald, "He's Florida's second most powerful Republican, but he won't run for governor | Miami Herald," 9 May 2018 The slapstick seems ill-timed, supporting characters have a community theater vibe, and the madcap feeling the writers seem to be going for never really materializes. Peter Hartlaub, kansascity, "‘Overboard’: Anna Faris can’t save this sinking ship | The Kansas City Star," 3 May 2018 Stella Bulochnikov was terminated from employment as Mariah’s manager due to failure to perform her job effectively and ill-serving her client. Melody Chiu, PEOPLE.com, "Mariah Carey Denies Ex-Manager's Sexual Harassment Claims: 'She Has Been Spreading False Rumors'," 18 Apr. 2018 Japan 🇯🇵 Eager, aspirational, and ill-fated against the real big dogs as Christopher Moltisanti. Roger Bennett, GQ, "Un-American Football: Your Guide to Enjoying This Yankee-Free World Cup," 12 June 2018 Hulse and Matthews, who in the past had been publicly critical of the Rajneeshees, became seriously ill soon afterward; Ellett, who at the time was considered to be sympathetic to the Rajneesh cause, did not. Win Mccormack, The New Republic, "Bhagwan’s Biggest Gamble: The Attempted Takeover of Wasco County," 12 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The bottom line is that despite a legion of attempts, there is no real case against buybacks, let alone enough to blame them for all sorts of economic ills. Clifford Asness, WSJ, "Buyback Derangement Syndrome," 16 Aug. 2018 Compulsory voting is often pitched as the silver bullet to the many ills of American democracy, assuming high turnout is always good. Chayenne Polimedio, Vox, "Is voting a civic right or a civic duty?," 6 Nov. 2018 For all its potential ills, technology can be a beautiful thing. Sophie Saint Thomas, SELF, "8 Signs a Sex Therapist Might Improve Your Life (and How to Find One)," 26 Oct. 2018 Panel members hope to soon expand the list by adding tests for viruses like flu, antibiotic resistance in bacteria, cancer, heart disease and other ills. New York Times, "For First Time, W.H.O. Names Some Lab Tests ‘Essential’," 21 May 2018 Jack was something of a political cipher in 1947, impatient with the pace of lawmaking and often absent, plagued with back pain and other ills. Eileen Mcnamara, BostonGlobe.com, "How Eunice Kennedy Shriver parlayed her famous name into a legacy of public service," 27 Mar. 2018 In other words, looking at life fearfully with a mindset of scarcity physically ages people, diminishes their health, and makes them prone to drug addiction and other ills. Clay Marsh, STAT, "Facing deaths of despair from the depths of despair in West Virginia," 12 July 2018 And if Burke keeps playing and scoring, the Union’s other ills might be forgotten, too. Jonathan Tannenwald, Philly.com, "David Accam, Cory Burke give Union wild 4-3 win at Chicago Fire," 11 July 2018 In the same vein, President Macron believes that the only cure for Europe’s ills is more Europe. William A. Galston, WSJ, "Macron’s Democratic Vision," 24 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ill.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ill

Adjective

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4c

Adverb

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3b

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for ill

Adjective

Middle English, from Old Norse illr

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Learn More about ill

Dictionary Entries near ill

ilk

ilka

ilka day

ill

Ill

-illa

illaborate

Statistics for ill

Last Updated

14 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ill

The first known use of ill was in the 12th century

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More Definitions for ill

ill

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of ill

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: not well or healthy : sick or unhealthy
of health : not normal or good
: harmful or damaging

ill

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of ill (Entry 2 of 3)

: in a bad or imperfect way
: in an unfavorable or unkind way

ill

noun

English Language Learners Definition of ill (Entry 3 of 3)

: bad or unlucky things
: a sickness or disease
: troubles or problems

ill

adjective
\ ˈil \
worse\ ˈwərs \; worst\ ˈwərst \

Kids Definition of ill

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : not in good health : sick an ill person
2 : not normal or sound ill health
3 : meant to do harm : evil ill deeds
4 : causing suffering or distress ill weather
5 : not helpful He was plagued by ill luck.
6 : not kind or friendly ill intentions
7 : not right or proper ill manners

ill

adverb
worse; worst

Kids Definition of ill (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : with displeasure or anger The remark was ill received.
2 : in a harsh or unkind way The animals were ill treated.
3 : scarcely sense 1, hardly He can ill afford it.
4 : in a bad or faulty way They're ill-prepared to face the winter.

ill

noun

Kids Definition of ill (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : the opposite of good Things will change for good or ill.
2 : a sickness or disease childhood ills
3 : trouble entry 1 sense 2 society's ills

Kids Definition of Ill.

Illinois

ill

adjective
\ ˈil \
worse\ ˈwərs \ also iller\ ˈil-​ər \; worst\ ˈwərst \

Medical Definition of ill

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : affected with some ailment : not in good health incurably ill with cancerTime mentally ill
2 : affected with nausea often to the point of vomiting thought she would be ill after the ride on the roller coaster

ill

noun

Medical Definition of ill (Entry 2 of 2)

: ailment, sickness chicken pox and other ills of childhood

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More from Merriam-Webster on ill

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ill

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ill

Spanish Central: Translation of ill

Nglish: Translation of ill for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ill for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ill

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excited commotion or publicity

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