[ poor ]
/ pʊər /

adjective, poor·er, poor·est.


(used with a plural verb)Usually the poor . poor persons collectively: sympathy for the poor.

Idioms for poor

    poor as a church mouse, extremely poor.
    poor as Job's turkey, extremely poor; impoverished.

Origin of poor

First recorded in 1150–1200; Middle English pov(e)re, from Old French povre, from Latin pauper; see pauper

synonym study for poor

1. Poor, impecunious, impoverished, penniless refer to those lacking money. Poor is the simple term for the condition of lacking means to obtain the comforts of life: a very poor family. Impecunious often suggests that the poverty is a consequence of unwise habits: an impecunious actor. Impoverished often implies a former state of greater plenty, from which one has been reduced: the impoverished aristocracy. Penniless may mean destitute, or it may apply simply to a temporary condition of being without funds: The widow was left penniless with three small children.

pronunciation note for poor

In the North and North Midland U.S., the vowel of poor is most often [oo]. /ʊ/. Poor and sure thus contrast with pour and shore: [poor], /pʊər/, [shoor] /ʃʊər/ versus [pawr], /pɔr/, [shawr] /ʃɔr/ or [pohr], /poʊr/, [shohr]. /ʃoʊr/. In the South Midland and South, the vowel of poor is generally [aw] /ɔ/ or [oh] /oʊ/ (often with the final (r) dropped), which means that in these areas, poor and pour are homophones, as are sure and shore. Both types of pronunciation exist in the British Isles.


poorness, nounnon·poor, nounquasi-poor, adjectivequasi-poorly, adverb


paw, poor , pore.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for poor

British Dictionary definitions for poor

/ (pʊə, pɔː) /


Derived forms of poor

poorness, noun

Word Origin for poor

C13: from Old French povre, from Latin pauper; see pauper, poverty
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012