poor

adjective
\ ˈpu̇r, ˈpȯr \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from poor

poorish \ ˈpu̇r-​ish , 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

Between 2012 and 2016, the overall cancer death rate was about 20 percent higher for people who live in the poorest counties in the U.S. compared with those who live in the most affluent counties. Korin Miller, SELF, "Cancer Deaths Have Declined 27 Percent in 25 Years, But Not Everyone Is Seeing the Same Benefit," 8 Jan. 2019 Meanwhile, poorer countries did not see the same gains. Julia Belluz, Vox, "We’re making real progress against cancer. But you may not know it if you’re poor.," 8 Jan. 2019 In its letter, Apple addresses a number of other mitigating factors that certainly contribute to the poor showing for the first quarter of 2019. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Apple's in Trouble for the First Time in a Long Time, And You Already Know Why," 3 Jan. 2019 But some studies show that even those with a poor tolerance for dairy can often digest one serving of yogurt daily. Madelyn Fernstrom, NBC News, "Health Matters: Is a "detox diet" good or bad for your health?," 13 July 2018 The Brazilian number one endured a poor World Cup, where his side were defeated in the quarter finals to Roberto Martinez's Belgian side. SI.com, "Roma Linked With AC Milan Forward Suso as Rossoneri Look to Ease Financial Worries," 13 July 2018 Moreover, the biggest wage gains in a tight labour market tend to accrue to the poorest workers. The Economist, "Worker shortages could heal America’s economy," 12 July 2018 But generally speaking, poor cerebral blood flow can lead to brain tissue death and result in stroke, hemorrhage and other conditions, according to Healthline. Laura Newberry, latimes.com, "Citing health study, Lancaster mayor wants to ban workplace necktie requirements for city employees," 12 July 2018 Sheep have poor eyesight, but have excellent hearing. Justin Reutter, Cincinnati.com, "Ewe won't believe how Cheviot is celebrating its baaah-centennial," 12 July 2018

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

Statistics for poor

Last Updated

12 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for poor

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for poor

poor

adjective

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

poor

adjective
\ ˈpu̇r \
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

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

to gather or build up little by little

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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