- of unsound physical or mental health; unwell; sick: She felt ill, so her teacher sent her to the nurse.
- objectionable; unsatisfactory; poor; faulty: ill manners.
- hostile; unkindly: ill feeling.
- evil; wicked; bad: of ill repute.
- unfavorable; adverse: ill fortune.
- of inferior worth or ability; unskillful; inexpert: an ill example of scholarship.
- Slang. great; amazing: His mom is the illest cook.
- an unfavorable opinion or statement: I can speak no ill of her.
- harm or injury: His remarks did much ill.
- trouble, distress, or misfortune: Many ills befell him.
- evil: to know the difference between good and ill.
- sickness or disease.
- in an ill manner.
- unsatisfactorily; poorly: It ill befits a man to betray old friends.
- in a hostile or unfriendly manner.
- unfavorably; unfortunately.
- with displeasure or offense.
- faultily; improperly.
- with difficulty or inconvenience; scarcely: Buying a new car is an expense we can ill afford.
- ill at ease, socially uncomfortable; nervous: They were ill at ease because they didn't speak the language.
Origin of ill
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Origin of ill.
- contraction of I will.
Examples from the Web for ill
They had rarely seen their own fathers carry small children unless their mothers were ill.How Good Dads Can Change the World
Gary Barker, PhD, Michael Kaufman
January 6, 2015
David Prowse, the actor who portrayed Darth Vader, wished to come back but had to turn down the role because of ill health.Juiciest ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Rumors (and Some Debunked Ones)
January 3, 2015
Alice wore a black nylon rain jacket that looked as if it was ill prepared to deal with the coming chill.The Wildly Peaceful, Human, Almost Boring, Ultimately Great New York City Protests for Eric Garner
December 8, 2014
The more I become dissipated, ill, a broken pitcher, the more I too become a creative artist in that great revival of art.Decoding Vincent Van Gogh’s Tempestuous, Fragile Mind
December 7, 2014
He was way too ill to visit the set and all that, but was very curious about the film.Idris Elba on Eric Garner, ‘Mi Mandela,’ and Selling Weed to Dave Chappelle
December 6, 2014
They gently raised him, bolstered him with pillows, and told him he had long been ill.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
But the result was achieved only at a cost which the little party could ill sustain.Explorations in Australia
I would have no ill befall her, but I am glad to be rid of her.The Armourer's Prentices
Charlotte M. Yonge
He was ill, and he desired to speak with his still beloved minister.
On Monday morning she was ill, and Robin ordered her to stay in bed.Life and Death of Harriett Frean
- (usually postpositive) not in good health; sick
- characterized by or intending evil, harm, etc; hostileill deeds
- causing or resulting in pain, harm, adversity, etcill effects
- ascribing or imputing evil to something referred toill repute
- promising an unfavourable outcome; unpropitiousan ill omen
- harsh; lacking kindnessill will
- not up to an acceptable standard; faultyill manners
- ill at ease unable to relax; uncomfortable
- evil or harmto wish a person ill
- a mild disease
- misfortune; trouble
- badlythe title ill befits him
- with difficulty; hardlyhe can ill afford the money
- not rightlyshe ill deserves such good fortune
- I will or I shall
Word Origin and History for ill
c.1200, "morally evil" (other 13c. senses were "malevolent, hurtful, unfortunate, difficult"), from Old Norse illr "ill, bad," of unknown origin. Not related to evil. Main modern sense of "sick, unhealthy, unwell" is first recorded mid-15c., probably related to Old Norse idiom "it is bad to me." Slang inverted sense of "very good, cool" is 1980s. As a noun, "something evil," from mid-13c.
early 13c., "to do evil to," from ill (adj.). Meaing "to speak disparagingly" is from 1520s. Related: Illed; illing.
c.1200, "wickedly; with hostility;" see ill (adj.). Meaning "not well, poorly" is from c.1300. It generally has not shifted to the realm of physical sickess, as the adjective has done. Ill-fated recorded from 1710; ill-informed from 1824; ill-tempered from c.1600; ill-starred from c.1600. Generally contrasted with well, hence the useful, but now obsolete or obscure illcome (1570s), illfare (c.1300), and illth.
- Not healthy; sick.
- Not normal, as a condition; unsound.
- A disease or illness, especially of animals.
Idioms and Phrases with ill
In addition to the idioms beginning with ill
- ill at ease
- ill wind that blows no one any good, it's an
, also see under
- get sick