View synonyms for ill



[ il ]


worse worstiller illest
  1. of unsound physical or mental health; unwell; sick:

    She felt ill, so her teacher sent her to the nurse.

    Synonyms: afflicted, diseased, ailing, unhealthy

    Antonyms: healthy, well

  2. ill manners.

  3. ill feeling.

  4. of ill repute.

    Synonyms: iniquitous, wrong

    Antonyms: good

  5. ill fortune.

  6. of inferior worth or ability; unskillful; inexpert:

    an ill example of scholarship.

  7. Slang. great; amazing:

    His mom is the illest cook.


  1. an unfavorable opinion or statement:

    I can speak no ill of her.

  2. harm or injury:

    His remarks did much ill.

    Synonyms: misery, affliction, pain, hurt

  3. trouble, distress, or misfortune:

    Many ills befell him.

    Synonyms: calamity

  4. to know the difference between good and ill.

    Synonyms: depravity

  5. sickness or disease.

    Synonyms: affliction, illness


  1. in an ill manner.
  2. unsatisfactorily; poorly:

    It ill befits a man to betray old friends.

  3. in a hostile or unfriendly manner.
  4. unfavorably; unfortunately.
  5. with displeasure or offense.
  6. faultily; improperly.
  7. with difficulty or inconvenience; scarcely:

    Buying a new car is an expense we can ill afford.



[ ahyl ]

  1. contraction of I will.



abbreviation for

  1. illustrated.
  2. illustration.
  3. illustrator.
  4. most illustrious.



abbreviation for

  1. Illinois.



abbreviation for

  1. Illinois



/ aɪl /

contraction of

  1. I will or I shall



/ ɪl /


  1. usually postpositive not in good health; sick
  2. characterized by or intending evil, harm, etc; hostile

    ill deeds

  3. causing or resulting in pain, harm, adversity, etc

    ill effects

  4. ascribing or imputing evil to something referred to

    ill repute

  5. promising an unfavourable outcome; unpropitious

    an ill omen

  6. harsh; lacking kindness

    ill will

  7. not up to an acceptable standard; faulty

    ill manners

  8. ill at ease
    unable to relax; uncomfortable


  1. evil or harm

    to wish a person ill

  2. a mild disease
  3. misfortune; trouble


  1. badly

    the title ill befits him

  2. with difficulty; hardly

    he can ill afford the money

  3. not rightly

    she ill deserves such good fortune

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Usage Note

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Grammar Note

See well 1.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of ill1

1150–1200; Middle English ill ( e ) (noun and adj.) < Old Norse illr (adj.) ill, bad

Origin of ill2

ill. ( def 4 ) < Latin illustrissimus

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Word History and Origins

Origin of ill1

C11 (in the sense: evil): from Old Norse illr bad

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. ill at ease, socially uncomfortable; nervous:

    They were ill at ease because they didn't speak the language.

More idioms and phrases containing ill

  • get sick

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Synonym Study

Ill, sick mean being in bad health, not being well. Ill is the more formal word. In the U.S. the two words are used practically interchangeably except that sick is always used when the word modifies the following noun: He looks sick ( ill ); a sick person. In England, sick is not interchangeable with ill, but usually has the connotation of nauseous: She got sick and threw up. sick, however, is used before nouns just as in the U.S.: a sick man.

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Example Sentences

A study in the Netherlands found that most patients who have been ill for 10 days are already making their own antibodies against the virus.

None have been proven yet, and much of the federal and private funding for clinical trials has gone for treating the severely ill.

In places where most people wore masks, those who did get infected seemed dramatically less likely to get severely ill compared to places with less mask-wearing.

The following day he felt ill and tested positive for the coronavirus.

Volunteers who were either ill, recovered or healthy all coughed at about the same velocity.

They had rarely seen their own fathers carry small children unless their mothers were ill.

I am fortunate that I have never been deathly ill, but whenever I have the stomach flu, I most certainly feel like I am dying.

David Prowse, the actor who portrayed Darth Vader, wished to come back but had to turn down the role because of ill health.

But Seligman never imagined how Mitchell might put the concept to work, in part because it was so ill-suited to that purpose.

There is a procedure called “compassionate release” allowing terminally ill men to die at home.

These differences of interests will lead to disputes, ill blood, and finally to separation.

And for fear of being ill spoken of weep bitterly for a day, and then comfort thyself in thy sadness.

G was a gamester, who had but ill-luck; H was a Hunter, who hunted a buck.

"It is ill-fated;" and Alessandro blamed himself for having forgotten her only association with the name.

The Marshals were inclined to attribute their disgrace to the ill-will of Berthier and not to the temper of Napoleon.


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When To Use

What are other ways to say ill?

The adjective ill is defined as “evil; wicked; bad.” However, it’s not used in exactly the same way as any of those synonyms! Learn the difference among these terms on

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.