\ 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 combination oil-poor countries

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

All the Sikhs—royalty or commoner, rich or poor—have been abiding by the decree of the takhat. Sondeep Sankar, Quartz India, "In photos: A glorious history of Sikhism," 3 Sep. 2019 Gotham is plagued by giant rats, uncontrollable trash, and a deep divide between rich and poor, causing ongoing tension that results in daily street fights and beat-downs among the city’s less fortunate. Ariston Anderson, The Hollywood Reporter, "Joaquin Phoenix Explains Why His 'Joker' Laugh Is "Something That's Almost Painful"," 31 Aug. 2019 At the same time, they were used on a regular basis by both rich and poor, so the coins help us understand how changes under Norman rule impacted on society as a whole. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Medieval Coin Hoard Offers Evidence of Early Tax Evasion," 30 Aug. 2019 The truth is, 24 acres would not be allowed to sit in a community that wasn't poor, that wasn't brown or black. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville Urban League breaks ground on sports and learning complex in the West End," 27 Aug. 2019 In a January 2019 audit, the New Jersey comptroller’s office found that state oversight of the tax break programs was poor. Nancy Solomon, ProPublica, "State Tax Breaks Rewarded Companies Connected to One Powerful Man. The Governor Just Killed Them — for Now.," 23 Aug. 2019 Its black uniformity is poor, too, so largely black screens will look uneven and splotchy in spots. Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, "Guidemaster: Finding the best gaming monitors you can buy in 2019," 23 Aug. 2019 It’s already being used by underserved women who are black or brown, or poor, or both—and that is a good thing. Molly Wood, WIRED, "The Ethics of Hiding Your Data From the Machines," 22 Aug. 2019 On the other hand, Newcastle have been predictably poor, justifiably losing to Arsenal but then unacceptably being dominated by Norwich, with a Teemu Pukki hat-trick giving the Canaries a 3-1 win. SI.com, "Tottenham vs Newcastle Preview: Where to Watch, Buy Tickets, Live Streams, Kick Off Time & Team News," 22 Aug. 2019

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.

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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

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Statistics for poor

Last Updated

7 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for poor

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

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More Definitions for poor



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

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More from Merriam-Webster on poor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for poor

Spanish Central: Translation of poor

Nglish: Translation of poor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of poor for Arabic Speakers

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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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