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

Many of the agency's junior comedians and other performers are paid poorly, making them more susceptible to getting caught up in questionable activities. Gavin J. Blair, The Hollywood Reporter, "Talent at Japan's Biggest Agency to Pledge Not to Work With Yakuza," 16 July 2019 All of that comes in handy on a job that pays poorly and can kill you instantly. Mark Athitakis, chicagotribune.com, "Karl Marlantes pens another spirited epic, this time about immigrants, logging and labor," 11 July 2019 All of that comes in handy in on a job that pays poorly and can kill you instantly. Mark Athitakis, Washington Post, "‘Deep River’ bucks every literary trend, and that’s what makes it so charming," 8 July 2019 The Microsoft founder pointed out that even when a particular Jobs project did poorly, the man still managed to wow. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Bill Gates goes Harry Potter when talking about Steve Jobs," 7 July 2019 O’Donnell said Dominican police are poorly paid, even by Latin American standards, with a major making about $10,000 annually and rank-and-file officers earning between $3,000 and $5,000. Michael Levenson, BostonGlobe.com, "David Ortiz case a high-profile test for troubled Dominican criminal justice system," 18 June 2019 Traffickers often bribe poorly paid Dominican officials to turn a blind eye to their smuggling operations, US officials say. Patrick Oppmann And Angela Barajas, CNN, "Authorities say they are closing in on the person who ordered the hit on David Ortiz," 16 June 2019 This situation is worse due to a lack of law enforcement resources, poorly paid and trained police officers and rampant corruption. Fox News, "David Ortiz shooting highlights crime plaguing Dominican Republic, slugger had called on police chief to 'take care of' it," 12 June 2019 Trainers were often paid poorly with no pathway into management. NBC News, "How Anna Kaiser became the reigning queen of fitness," 5 June 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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Statistics for poorly

Last Updated

19 Jul 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 complain fretfully

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