\ ˈpu̇r How to pronounce poor (audio) , ˈpȯr How to pronounce poor (audio) \

Definition of poor

1a : lacking material possessions
b : of, relating to, or characterized by poverty
2a : less than adequate : meager
b : small in worth
3 : exciting pity you poor thing
4a : inferior in quality or value
c : mean, petty
6 : barren, unproductive used of land
8 : lacking a normal or adequate supply of something specified often used in combination oil-poor countries

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Other Words from poor

poorish \ ˈpu̇r-​ish How to pronounce poor (audio) , ˈpȯr-​ \ adjective
poorness noun

Examples of poor in a Sentence

We were too poor to buy new clothes. The organization helps poor families. She has a poor vocabulary. It was a poor attempt at a joke. He is in poor condition. She couldn't read the sign because her vision was too poor.
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Recent Examples on the Web Residents suffered poor health and economic insecurity. Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor, "Why cities are experimenting with giving people cash payments," 2 Apr. 2021 At this rate, the poor man will probably be badgered to his grave. David Harsanyi, National Review, "The Never-Ending Persecution of Jack Phillips," 24 Mar. 2021 After his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, British forces sentenced former emperor Napoleon Bonaparte to live out the rest of his days—most of which were spent in poor health—on a remote island in the South Atlantic. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "New Jersey Estate Owned by Napoleon’s Older Brother Set to Become State Park," 23 Mar. 2021 The organization later expanded to address both the causes and consequences of blindness, malnutrition and poor health, according to Helen Keller International. Daniella Genovese, Fox News, "Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan: What to know about the trailblazers for the blind and deaf," 22 Mar. 2021 Norwood has multiple sclerosis and is in poor health, according to police. Sarah Nelson, The Indianapolis Star, "45-year-old woman who had been missing for 2 weeks has been found unharmed," 16 Mar. 2021 However, the guidelines acknowledged that outdoor visits might be impractical at times because of bad weather or for residents in poor health. Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland, "Ohio will again allow indoor nursing-home visits in most circumstances," 12 Mar. 2021 The study breaks down the results by age, showing that women aged 18 to 34 report the highest rates of poor mental health than any other group. Carley Fortune, refinery29.com, "Are Women F*cked?," 8 Mar. 2021 The deer was in such poor health, there was nothing troopers could do but euthanized the animal. Dave Hurteau, Field & Stream, "Oregon Poacher Uses Blow Gun to Wound and Kill Mule Deer. Here’s How You Can Help Police Bust Them," 4 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'poor.' 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 poor

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for poor

Middle English poure, from Anglo-French povre, pore, from Latin pauper; akin to Latin paucus little and to Latin parere to give birth to, produce — more at few, pare

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Time Traveler for poor

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for poor

Last Updated

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Poor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/poor. Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of poor

: having little money or few possessions : not having enough money for the basic things that people need to live properly
: having a very small amount of something
: not good in quality or condition


\ ˈpu̇r How to pronounce poor (audio) \
poorer; poorest

Kids Definition of poor

1 : having little money or few possessions
2 : less than enough a poor crop
3 : worthy of pity The poor dog was lost.
4 : low in quality or condition poor health a poor effort

Other Words from poor

poorly adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on poor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for poor

Nglish: Translation of poor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of poor for Arabic Speakers

Comments on poor

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