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


he tends to perform poorly on standardized tests


she stayed home because she was feeling poorly

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

The current president, Donald Trump, fares poorly, as do both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Poll: Barack Obama Was the Greatest President of Our Lifetime," 11 July 2018 There was also a giant Acuba very near this tree, which was totally over grown and poorly placed. OregonLive.com, "How to clear soil choked with old roots: Ask an expert," 6 June 2018 It has been found in the wild only in one small cypress swamp that has fared poorly since its discovery in 1938. Janet Mcconnaughey, Fox News, "Petal power: Group works to preserve wild Louisiana irises," 10 May 2018 All three cars the company plans to discontinue fared poorly for the month. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "Ford sales down, Fiat Chrysler up in April as auto industry cools off," 1 May 2018 Many of the apps were so poorly documented and fragile that they were simply turned off. Sara Castellanos, WSJ, "Juniper Networks CIO Reflects on 7-Year Cloud Initiative," 11 Feb. 2019 Although the link between heart disease and excess weight is incredibly complicated and poorly understood, the AHA consistently names obesity as a major risk factor for cardiovascular issues. Korin Miller, SELF, "Almost Half of All U.S. Adults Have Heart Disease or High Blood Pressure," 31 Jan. 2019 That will help downstream distros like elementary OS, as well as others like Linux Mint Cinnamon edition (which also runs poorly in a virtual machine). Scott Gilbertson, Ars Technica, "A tour of elementary OS, perhaps the Linux world’s best hope for the mainstream," 28 Dec. 2018 Casselberry’s police station off busy U.S. Highway 17-92 is a leaky, outdated building with an air-conditioning system that runs poorly and little space for the department’s 68 employees, according to city officials. Martin E. Comas, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Casselberry moves forward with relocating police station, which carries $7M price tag," 3 July 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.

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

Statistics for poorly

Last Updated

1 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for poorly

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

See more words from the same century

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

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).


the range of authority or knowledge

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
True or False

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

Add Diction

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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