poor·​ly | \ˈpu̇r-lē, 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

That bodes poorly for GameStop, which despite efforts to diversify its business, still depends primarily on selling physical games in actual stores. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "GameStop in Crossfire of Videogame Shootout," 30 Nov. 2018 But for those without the day off work, like many blue-collar workers, Black Friday marks a two-week grind of intense labor for warehouse workers, cashiers, and couriers, who are often poorly paid or hold precarious contracts with their employers. Rebekka Ayres, Teen Vogue, "Black Friday, Explained: A Complete History," 23 Nov. 2018 The final straw is Skye getting mugged and beaten in one of the (poorly lit) streets near the rec center. Emma Dibdin, Country Living, "'This Is Us' Recap: Jack and an Adult Kate Appeared Together for the First Time and It Was Emotional," 10 Oct. 2018 For such an in-your-face sensory organ, the nose is poorly understood. Tim Folger, Discover Magazine, "How Quantum Mechanics Lets Us See, Smell and Touch," 24 Oct. 2018 One of the problems could be that our understanding of the movements of the lithium compounds used in batteries is rather poorly understood, especially because looking at the ions at nanoscale hasn't been possible until recently. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists May Have Found What Makes Batteries Degrade Over Time," 17 Sep. 2018 The new images triggered a wave of scholarship into Epicurean philosophy, which had been poorly understood compared with the rival ideas of Plato, Aristotle or the Stoics. Henrik Knudsen, Smithsonian, "Buried by the Ash of Vesuvius, These Scrolls Are Being Read for the First Time in Millennia," 26 June 2018 But the precise nature of the nuclear processes that create these elements is poorly understood. NBC News, "5 ways the world's fastest supercomputer could change the world," 18 June 2018 But this was more an indication of how poorly Mr Trump understands the global trading system than a serious summons to the negotiating table. The Economist, "Donald Trump lobs a grenade from afar into the G7," 10 June 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

6 Dec 2018

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)

: 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).


living or existing for a long time

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