\ ˈpu̇r How to pronounce poor (audio) , ˈpȯr How to pronounce poor (audio) \

Definition of poor

1a : lacking material possessions
b : of, relating to, or characterized by poverty
2a : less than adequate : meager
b : small in worth
3 : exciting pity you poor thing
4a : inferior in quality or value
c : mean, petty
6 : barren, unproductive used of land
8 : lacking a normal or adequate supply of something specified often used in combinationoil-poor countries

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from poor

poorish \ ˈpu̇r-​ish How to pronounce poorish (audio) , ˈpȯr-​ \ adjective
poorness noun

Examples of poor in a Sentence

We were too poor to buy new clothes. The organization helps poor families. She has a poor vocabulary. It was a poor attempt at a joke. He is in poor condition. She couldn't read the sign because her vision was too poor.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web But the track record of bipartisan groupings of moderates in either the House or Senate in brokering major deals has been poor in recent years. Erik Wasson, Bloomberg.com, "White House Signals Higher Stimulus Offer; Powell Urges More," 16 Sep. 2020 By cloaking the language of profit in the language of safety, these efforts are able to write out the poor and unhoused—those for whom the city is the most hostile and unsafe—from these most basic human identities. Apoorva Tadepalli, The New Republic, "The Rhetorical Weapons of Liberal Nimbyism," 14 Sep. 2020 The economic crisis has also had a disproportionate effect on communities of color and the working poor, who have fewer resources to weather the downturn, Mr. Rodriguez said. Joseph De Avila, WSJ, "Covid-19 Hit This New Jersey County Hard. Now, Families Are Lining Up for Food.," 8 Sep. 2020 At the same time, the Church urged the wealthy to ensure their place in heaven by bequeathing their money to the poor—that is, to the Church, benefactor to the needy. Judith Shulevitz, The Atlantic, "Why Is the West So Powerful—And So Peculiar?," 6 Sep. 2020 Boone, who died in August at age 76 after a stroke, derived deep satisfaction in standing up for the little guy — the poor, the overlooked of society. Reid Forgrave, Star Tribune, "Craig Boone, who defended people who most needed it, dies at 76," 29 Aug. 2020 But people across the social spectrum enjoyed beer: rich and poor, male and female, young and old. Tate Paulette, The Conversation, "Brewing Mesopotamian beer brings a sip of this vibrant ancient drinking culture back to life," 24 Aug. 2020 Simmons and Wesson returned repeatedly during our conversations to South Dallas’ poor -- or nonexistent -- internet service. Sharon Grigsby, Dallas News, "Miracle-working church serves as clinic, pantry and laundry for Dallas neighborhoods hard hit by COVID," 20 Aug. 2020 While the health care system has grown and changed for the better in Southeast San Diego over the years, the 67-year-old said there is still work to be done to fully support those who are poor, Black or from another community of color. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Focus turns to inequities in diabetes care in Black community," 18 Aug. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of poor

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for poor

Middle English poure, from Anglo-French povre, pore, from Latin pauper; akin to Latin paucus little and to Latin parere to give birth to, produce — more at few, pare

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about poor

Time Traveler for poor

Time Traveler

The first known use of poor was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for poor

Last Updated

20 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Poor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/poor. Accessed 26 Sep. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for poor

How to pronounce poor (audio) How to pronounce poor (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of poor

: having little money or few possessions : not having enough money for the basic things that people need to live properly
: having a very small amount of something
: not good in quality or condition
\ ˈpu̇r How to pronounce poor (audio) \
poorer; poorest

Kids Definition of poor

1 : having little money or few possessions
2 : less than enough a poor crop
3 : worthy of pity The poor dog was lost.
4 : low in quality or condition poor health a poor effort

Other Words from poor

poorly adverb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on poor

What made you want to look up poor? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!