poor·​ly | \ ˈpu̇r-lē How to pronounce poorly (audio) , ˈpȯr- \

Definition of poorly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: in a poor condition or manner especially : in an inferior or imperfect way : badly sang poorly



Definition of poorly (Entry 2 of 2)

: somewhat ill : indisposed

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of poorly in a Sentence

Adverb he tends to perform poorly on standardized tests Adjective she stayed home because she was feeling poorly
Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb But what is fresh air in 2020, in a year of masks and poorly ventilated spaces and smoky skies and air filters? Cheri Lucas Rowlands, Longreads, "Quarantine Brain: How ‘the Internet Became More Internet’ in 2020," 30 Dec. 2020 Prison facilities are often overcrowded and poorly ventilated. CBS News, "One in five inmates in the U.S. has had COVID-19 and over 1,700 have died," 18 Dec. 2020 Spending time indoors in a poorly ventilated setting only amplifies that risk. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Court ruling reignites debate around whether San Diego’s restaurants are COVID hotspots," 17 Dec. 2020 One survey found that low-income families are twice as likely to say that distance learning is going poorly for their child. Brad Polumbo, National Review, "Canceling Student Debt and Other Regressive Education Policies," 3 Dec. 2020 The organization says gatherings that do occur should take place outdoors if at all possible and should not be in poorly ventilated or crowded spaces. Lydia Gerike, The Indianapolis Star, "How Hoosiers are adjusting Thanksgiving for pandemic — and what experts say is safe," 19 Nov. 2020 In 2017, 10 undocumented immigrants died from being stuffed into a poorly ventilated, scorching hot tractor-trailer that had come from the border and parked at a South Side Walmart. Taylor Pettaway, ExpressNews.com, "Undocumented immigrants found after high-speed chase in San Antonio," 19 Nov. 2020 In Honduras, some shelters for storm refugees are crowded and poorly ventilated, and social distancing is often impossible. Natalie Gallón, CNN, "In Central America, a devastating storm and an uncertain future," 12 Nov. 2020 Of the 50% who said efforts were going poorly, 88% voted for Biden. David Hogberg, Washington Examiner, "Exit polling shows Democrats were more concerned about COVID-19, while Republicans focused on the economy," 4 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'poorly.' 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 poorly


13th century, in the meaning defined above


1570, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about poorly

Time Traveler for poorly

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for poorly

Last Updated

23 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Poorly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/poorly. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for poorly



English Language Learners Definition of poorly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: in a poor or bad manner : in a way that is not good or satisfactory



English Language Learners Definition of poorly (Entry 2 of 2)

British, informal : somewhat ill

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on poorly

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


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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