1 of 2


poor·​ly ˈpu̇r-lē How to pronounce poorly (audio)
: in a poor condition or manner
especially : in an inferior or imperfect way : badly
sang poorly


2 of 2


: somewhat ill : indisposed

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
The country is administered by two rival governments, complicating rescue and aid efforts, and despite its vast oil resources, its infrastructure had been poorly maintained after more than a decade of political chaos. Isabella Kwai, New York Times, 13 Sep. 2023 But analysts also attributed the sluggish and poorly coordinated disaster response to Morocco’s constitutional monarchy, in which decision-making is highly centralized and lower-level officials fear taking action without approval from the royal palace. Claire Parker, Anchorage Daily News, 13 Sep. 2023 When a team starts a game poorly, however, the chance to reset can be a blessing. Greg McKenna, Dallas News, 13 Sep. 2023 Clients move around and rarely have phones; case managers—a position that generally requires no higher education, license, or specialized training—are poorly paid and often overburdened, though the good ones are heroic and save lives. Jennifer Egan, The New Yorker, 11 Sep. 2023 The lawsuit also claims an epidural was poorly administered. Zinhle Essamuah, NBC News, 11 Sep. 2023 Hard to believe the Chiefs’ season will go as poorly as the Rams’ historically bad 5-12 title defense in 2022 but obviously not an ideal start. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, 8 Sep. 2023 Instead, Russia’s ground forces proved to be disorganized, poorly trained, and lacking crucial supply lines, while Russian planes failed to gain control of Ukrainian airspace. Zoltan Barany, Foreign Affairs, 8 Sep. 2023 Notepad and OneNote are notable examples of applications that react poorly. Wes Davis, The Verge, 2 Sep. 2023
Story will be a free agent and at this stage why would an accomplished player stay with the poorly run Rockies? BostonGlobe.com, 27 Mar. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'poorly.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined above


1570, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near poorly

Cite this Entry

“Poorly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/poorly. Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: somewhat ill

More from Merriam-Webster on poorly

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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