\ 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

Other Words from poor

poorish \ ˈpu̇r-​ish How to pronounce poor (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 While the formatting for ebooks is generally good, some magazine formatting is poor. Simon Hill, Wired, 22 Jan. 2022 Single mothers are much more likely to be poor than married couples. Patricia Fersch, Forbes, 20 Jan. 2022 Even with five players scoring in double figures, the Lakers lost a game because their defense was poor in the fourth quarter. Los Angeles Times, 20 Jan. 2022 The CEOs added that those restrictions wouldn't be limited to times when visibility is poor. David Koenig, ajc, 19 Jan. 2022 Data from altimeters is used to help pilots land when visibility is poor. David Koenig, USA TODAY, 16 Jan. 2022 The legislation would also remove areas that were originally designated as opportunity zones that weren’t actually poor, including well-off areas of Detroit and Baltimore that ProPublica reported on that year. Jeff Ernsthausen, ProPublica, 13 Jan. 2022 But those decisions to go for late 2-point conversions in losses against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers were poor, as were some of Harbaugh’s clock-management issues. Mike Preston, baltimoresun.com, 12 Jan. 2022 Nico, however, plays at being poor, refusing to ask his wealthy family for money. Oline H. Cogdill, sun-sentinel.com, 11 Jan. 2022

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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Time Traveler for poor

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near poor

poop royal


poor/bad sport

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Statistics for poor

Last Updated

24 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Poor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/poor. Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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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 : bad


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on poor

Nglish: Translation of poor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of poor for Arabic Speakers


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