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: somewhat unwell
also : habitually ailing
: appearing as if sick
: lacking in vigor : weak
a sickly plant
: in a manner indicating, causing, or suggestive of sickness
Walking blindly, every step making him sick with pain, he … covered his face as much as he could, and struggled sickly along.—D. H. Lawrence
His face turned a sickly shade of yellow.—Rick Riordan—sometimes used figuratively
Nick was the perfect boy for me. We were that sickly-sweet couple who never fought.—Sara Harari
sicklied; sicklying; sicklies
: to make sick or sickly
Adjective The walls were painted a sickly yellow. The lamp gave off a sickly glow.
Recent Examples on the Web
AdjectiveThe sickly, plastic smell still lingers inside and clings to the creek, Sulphur Run, a few feet from her door. —Emily Cochrane, New York Times, 19 Feb. 2023 Standing in Santa Monica, with the Pacific Ocean at her back, Pink, 22, is looking sort of yellow this late-February afternoon—like a sickly skate rat in black hoodie, bedhead, and no makeup. —Kate Sullivan, SPIN, 18 Feb. 2023 The argument for cooperation is that trees in a healthy forest survive better than trees in a sickly one, but such instances of group natural selection are rare in the wild, Flinn says. —Stephanie Pappas, Scientific American, 13 Feb. 2023 Witherspoon stars as Debbie, a divorced Los Angeles mom whose son Jack (Wesley Kimmel) is a sickly nervous wreck. —Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times, 9 Feb. 2023 These sickly tendencies illustrate a series of bizarre paradoxes and unexpected events. —WSJ, 31 Jan. 2023 Living by a dumpster with her sickly dad who scavenges scrap materials for a living, Paloma is quickly discovered by Sergio as a certified math genius and steadily grows into her potential as someone gifted enough to build her own telescope. —Tomris Laffly, Variety, 19 Jan. 2023 His right side becomes a sadist, obsessed with systems of torture; his left is now possessed by a sickly goodness and grace; both sides are in love with the same woman, Pamela. —Merve Emre, The New Yorker, 27 Feb. 2023 Part two finds Hazel Sinnett at British court, the personal physician of Princess Charlotte, the sickly granddaughter of King George III. —Barbara Vandenburgh, USA TODAY, 26 Feb. 2023
AdverbThe cliche is that cider is sickly sweet and with a high alcohol level — but Scion’s selection includes draft ciders that range from 4 to 12% ABV, and the flavor profiles range from extremely dry and tannic to tart to herbal to sweet. —Stefene Russell, The Salt Lake Tribune, 2 Jan. 2023 Instead of sickly-sweet root beer, pour a bold, smooth, and complex All Out Extra Dark over a glass of rich and creamy ice cream (non-dairy versions work too) for an ice-cream float with a bite. —Outside Online, 9 Nov. 2022 Typically, these bottles are sickly sweet and hangover inducing. —Kate Dingwall, Forbes, 31 July 2022 Did the sickly-sweet chocolates at the end come from Russell Stover? —Dallas News, 14 Apr. 2022 The pastel indie-pop serenade is imbued with Night’s sickly sweet romantic lyrics. —Grace Ann Natanawan, SPIN, 4 Mar. 2022 Still sickly five days after testing positive, Trevino says she was pressured to return to work without a negative test result. —NBC News, 10 Feb. 2022 Still, Shopsin resists the urge to veer sickly-sweet in her nostalgia. —Wired Staff, Wired, 26 Nov. 2021 The plants get seven hours of sunlight, but the leaves are really sickly looking. —Neil Sperry, San Antonio Express-News, 10 Sep. 2021
VerbAnd Jessie is stubbornly clinging to the only remedy that seems to help sickly Thomas at all: blood. —Kolbie Peterson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 31 Jan. 2022 There is something unsavory, even sickly about the artist, something not entirely on the side of life. —New York Times, 17 Sep. 2021 Klara is purchased for Josie, a sweet, sickly teenage girl who lives with her harried mother and a housekeeper outside the city. —Sam Sacks, WSJ, 26 Feb. 2021 See More
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sickly.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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