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

Adverb he tends to perform poorly on standardized tests Adjective she stayed home because she was feeling poorly
Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb The move was expected after Northwestern finished 126th in scoring among the 130 teams in the FBS and coach Pat Fitzgerald was highly critical of how poorly the quarterbacks prepared for the season. Teddy Greenstein, chicagotribune.com, "Northwestern fires offensive coordinator Mick McCall after the Wildcats finished 126th in scoring out of 130 FBS teams," 30 Nov. 2019 Albania, which marked the 107th anniversary of its independence on Thursday, has not experienced a deadly earthquake since a 1979 temblor killed 40 people, and the country is poorly prepared for such disasters. Washington Post, "World Digest: Nov. 28, 2019," 28 Nov. 2019 In the past, the president has also argued that the cases were poorly handled by prosecutors. John Fritze, USA TODAY, "Trump ramps up attacks on 'deep state,' focuses on Pentagon amid Eddie Gallagher controversy," 28 Nov. 2019 The grim phenomenon, which campaigners call féminicide, has long been under-reported and poorly handled in France. The Economist, "Big demonstrations in Paris over the murder of women," 28 Nov. 2019 In fact, by all appearances, it was handled poorly. Mike Anthony, courant.com, "Mike Anthony: Hiring Jim Calhoun was a PR dream for St. Joseph. Now the reputation of the school and coach are damaged.," 16 Nov. 2019 The airline’s struggles go back nearly a decade, to the carrier’s poorly executed merger with Continental in 2010. Susan Glaser, cleveland, "United’s turnaround: Airline holds planes, adds carry-on space to improve customer satisfaction; is it enough?," 29 Oct. 2019 Ferdinand, who played alongside Evra during the match, told BT Sport that Liverpool had handled the situation poorly. SI.com, "Rio Ferdinand Calls on Liverpool to Apologise for Reaction to Luis Suarez Racism Affair," 23 Oct. 2019 The Seahawks have also handled returns poorly, with significant net yardage disadvantages on both punts and kickoffs. Childs Walker, baltimoresun.com, "Ravens vs. Seahawks scouting report: Who has the edge in Sunday’s game in Seattle?," 17 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for poorly

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

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Statistics for poorly

Last Updated

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Poorly.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/poorly. Accessed 24 January 2020.

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More Definitions for poorly


How to pronounce poorly (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for poorly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


a feeling of well-being or elation

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