\ 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

An attorney said Adams’s poor mental health led to the attack. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "A black teenager was listening to rap music. A white man allegedly killed him for it.," 9 July 2019 Carb avoidance could lead to poor digestive health The daily recommended target for fiber is at least 25 grams per day. Cynthia Sass, Mph, Health.com, "The Zero Carb Diet May Be a Simple Way to Lose Weight—But Is It Safe?," 8 July 2019 While those most vulnerable to heat illness are the very young and the very old as well as those in poor health, anyone can experience heat illness. Susan Scutti, CNN, "Avoid heat illness while enjoying Independence Day as more than a third of the nation experiences 90-degree heat," 4 July 2019 Turkey’s gap between rich and poor is one of the widest in the world. Ian Bremmer, Time, "Istanbul’s Rebuke of Erdogan Shows That Democracy Lives," 27 June 2019 Johnson, 88, is in poor health and has not been present for the trial. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Prosecutor felt suspect was innocent, but dentists convinced him bite marks proved otherwise. They were wrong.," 26 June 2019 Climate change became a daily reality long ago in Miami, where both rich and poor have been forced to grapple with the compounding effects of warmer temperatures and higher sea levels. Patricia Mazzei, New York Times, "Democrats Will Debate in a City Under Siege by Climate Change," 24 June 2019 For years, scientists have been trying to figure out how to break the remarkably robust connection between adversity early in life and bad outcomes later on—poor health, incarceration, dropping out of school, violence. Jenny Anderson, Quartz, "The scientific effort to protect babies from trauma before it happens," 22 June 2019 People with obesity and diabetes also tend to have high triglycerides, a sign of poor metabolic health, a measure of factors such as blood sugar and blood pressure, and other metabolic abnormalities that are damaging to the heart and blood vessels. Betsy Mckay, WSJ, "Heart Attack at 49—America’s Biggest Killer Makes a Deadly Comeback," 21 June 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

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


to complain fretfully

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