ill

1 of 5

adjective

worse ˈwərs How to pronounce ill (audio) ; worst ˈwərst How to pronounce ill (audio)
1
a 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
3
a
: not suited to circumstances or not to one's advantage : unlucky
an ill omen
b
: involving difficulty : hard
4
a
: 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
5
a
: not meeting an accepted standard
ill manners
b
archaic : notably unskillful or inefficient

ill

2 of 5

adverb

worse; worst
1
a
: in a faulty, inefficient, insufficient, or unpleasant manner
often used in combination
the methods used may be ill-adapted to the aims in viewR. M. Hutchins
b
: in an unfortunate manner : badly, unluckily
ill fares the land … where wealth accumulates, and men decayOliver Goldsmith
2
: hardly, scarcely
can ill afford such extravagances
3
a
: 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

3 of 5

noun

1
b(1)
(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

4 of 5

abbreviation (1)

illustrated; illustration; illustrator

Ill

5 of 5

abbreviation (2)

Illinois

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Of the 48 people sickened, 46 were ill enough to seek medical care, and 27 were admitted to a hospital. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 5 July 2024 The commission voted at its June meeting to push to allow courts to retain alternate jurors even after deliberations begin in a criminal case so cases do not have to be delayed or declared a mistrial if a juror becomes ill or is unable to continue after deliberations have begun in a case. Jon Styf | The Center Square, Washington Examiner - Political News and Conservative Analysis About Congress, the President, and the Federal Government, 5 July 2024
Adverb
To date, 48 people across 24 states have fallen ill after eating the candies, which include chocolate bars, gummies, and candy cones that were sold online and in retail locations, such as smoke and vape shops. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 5 July 2024 Anyone who falls ill after using them should contact a health care provider or a poison center at 1-800-222-1222. Baltimore Sun Staff, Baltimore Sun, 5 July 2024
Noun
The Dems own every inch of every ill our nation is facing. Voice Of The People, New York Daily News, 4 July 2024 Medical research is invested in finding ways to reconstruct healthy microbiomes to help cure some of those ills. Alia Sajani, STAT, 1 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for ill 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ill.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English, from Old Norse illr

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near ill

Cite this Entry

“Ill.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ill. Accessed 16 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

ill

1 of 3 adjective
worse ˈwərs How to pronounce ill (audio) ; worst ˈwərst How to pronounce ill (audio)
1
: meant to do harm or evil
ill deeds
2
a
: causing suffering or distress
ill weather
b
: not normal or sound
ill health
c
: not being in good health
had been ill for some years
d
: affected by nausea
3
: not helpful to one : unlucky
an ill omen
4
: not right or proper
ill manners
5
: not kind or friendly
ill feeling
never said an ill word

ill

2 of 3 adverb
worse; worst
1
a
: with displeasure or anger
the remark was ill received
b
: in a harsh manner
treated me ill
2
: in a way that deserves blame
an ill-spent youth
ill-gotten gains
3
: hardly sense 3, scarcely
can ill afford it
4
: in a faulty way : badly, poorly
ill-prepared to face the winter

ill

3 of 3 noun
1
: the opposite of good : evil
2
a
: sickness sense 2
childhood ills
b
: trouble entry 2 sense 1a
the ills of society

Medical Definition

ill

1 of 2 adjective
worse ˈwərs How to pronounce ill (audio) also iller ˈil-ər How to pronounce ill (audio) ; worst ˈwərst How to pronounce ill (audio)
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

2 of 2 noun
: ailment, sickness
chicken pox and other ills of childhood

Geographical Definition

Ill

geographical name

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

More from Merriam-Webster on ill

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