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

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Examples of poorly in a Sentence


he tends to perform poorly on standardized tests


she stayed home because she was feeling poorly

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Anyone who treats you poorly for talking about STIs (or having one) probably isn’t worth it. Kasandra Brabaw, SELF, "How to Talk to Your Partner About Getting Tested With Minimal Weirdness," 25 Mar. 2019 And to further muddy the situation, television news outlets handled the situation poorly, allowing themselves to be used as a source of misinformation during their attempts to cover the new report. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Trump administration organizes pushback against its own climate report," 3 Dec. 2018 There’s David Cross handling an interview really poorly with his friend Jessica of 15 years. Lisa Miller, The Cut, "The Weaponized Amber Tamblyn," 8 July 2018 Btw, the whole thing has been handled poorly, but no ONE person is to blame. Jodi Guglielmi, PEOPLE.com, "Lethal Weapon Guest-Star Defends Clayne Crawford After Firing: 'No One Is Perfect'," 17 May 2018 Herschman, who said his restaurant employs and attracts a diverse group of people and does not tolerate discrimination in his business, offered an apology and said the situation was handled poorly. Justin Madden, cleveland.com, "Police called to Cleveland Heights restaurant after brunch dispute," 11 May 2018 Both services, owned by Facebook Inc., and others functioned poorly or ceased to work altogether in the hours after the attacks Sunday, according to users. Jon Emont, WSJ, "Sri Lanka Blocks Social Media Amid Bomb Attacks," 21 Apr. 2019 About 40% of health care facilities remain functional, according to the U.N., and the clinics that do work are poorly equipped. Sam Mednick, The Seattle Times, "In South Sudan, midwives bring down deaths despite the odds," 13 Apr. 2019 Typically, of the hundreds of pictures Parks took for the gang story, none of the positive images ran, only ones that reflected poorly on the subjects. William Meyers, WSJ, "‘Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940-1950’ Review: Young Talent in Black and White," 5 Dec. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of poorly


13th century, in the meaning defined above


1570, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for poorly

Last Updated

24 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for poorly

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on poorly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with poorly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for poorly

Spanish Central: Translation of poorly

Nglish: Translation of poorly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of poorly for Arabic Speakers

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).


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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