[ poor ]
See synonyms for poor on Thesaurus.com
adjective,poor·er, poor·est.
  1. having little or no money, goods, or other means of support: She came from a poor family struggling to survive.

  2. Law. dependent upon charity or public support.

  1. (of a country, institution, etc.) meagerly supplied or endowed with resources or funds.

  2. characterized by or showing poverty.

  3. deficient or lacking in something specified: a region poor in mineral deposits.

  4. faulty or inferior, as in construction: poor workmanship.

  5. (of land or soil) lacking abundance or productivity: poor soil.

  6. excessively lean or emaciated, as cattle.

  7. of an inferior, inadequate, or unsatisfactory kind: poor health.

  8. lacking in skill, ability, or training: a poor cook.

  9. deficient in moral excellence; cowardly, abject, or mean.

  10. scanty, meager, or paltry in amount or number: a poor audience.

  11. humble; modest: They shared their poor meal with a stranger.

  12. unfortunate; hapless: The poor dog was limping.

noun(used with a plural verb)
  1. Usually the poor .Often Disparaging and Offensive. poor people collectively.

Idioms about poor

  1. poor as a church mouse, extremely poor.

  2. poor as Job's turkey, Southern and South Midland U.S. extremely poor.

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 North and North Midland U.S. English, 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.

Other words for poor

Opposites for poor

Other words from poor

  • poor·ness, noun
  • non·poor, noun
  • qua·si-poor, adjective
  • qua·si-poor·ly, adverb

Words that may be confused with poor

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use poor in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for poor


/ (pʊə, pɔː) /

    • lacking financial or other means of subsistence; needy

    • (as collective noun; preceded by the): the poor

  1. characterized by or indicating poverty: the country had a poor economy

  1. deficient in amount; scanty or inadequate: a poor salary

  2. (when postpositive, usually foll by in) badly supplied (with resources, materials, etc): a region poor in wild flowers

  3. lacking in quality; inferior

  4. giving no pleasure; disappointing or disagreeable: a poor play

  5. (prenominal) deserving of pity; unlucky: poor John is ill again

  6. poor man's something a (cheaper) substitute for something

Origin of poor

C13: from Old French povre, from Latin pauper; see pauper, poverty

Derived forms of poor

  • poorness, noun

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