- 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
Examples from the Web for ills
“EOTS is a poster child for one of the ills of the acquisition process,” the official said.Newest U.S. Stealth Fighter ‘10 Years Behind’ Older Jets
December 26, 2014
Writ in its history are all the ills and passions of the past century.Glenn Beck Is Now Selling Hipster Clothes. Really.
Ana Marie Cox
December 20, 2014
The character-building cornerstone of American life has lately come under fire for ills ranging from racism to concussions.Has Football Jumped the Shark?
September 1, 2014
So Snowden spent the first half of his pre-taped question talking about the ills of American surveillance.Snowden’s Camp: Staged Putin Q&A Was a Screw-Up
April 21, 2014
They seem to cherish a strange, irrational notion that something in the very flow of time will cure all ills.Alex Haley’s 1965 Playboy Interview with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
January 19, 2014
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless: Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.Graded Poetry: Second Year
It was and is intended by her for the stomachs of men, to cure all the ills of mankind.The Mayflower, January, 1905
Pat is more occupied with the bright present than with past ills.The Elm Tree Tales
F. Irene Burge Smith
And the soul which we behold is in a similar condition, disfigured by ten thousand ills.The Republic
My head so pillowed and a saint from Heaven ministering to my ills?Love-at-Arms
- (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
Word Origin and History for ills
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 ills
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