View synonyms for sickly


[ sik-lee ]


, sick·li·er, sick·li·est.
  1. not strong; unhealthy; ailing.

    Synonyms: infirm, feeble, sick, puny, weak, frail

  2. of, connected with, or arising from ill health:

    a sickly complexion.

  3. marked by the prevalence of ill health, as a region:

    the epidemic left the town sickly.

  4. causing sickness.
  5. maudlin and insipid; mawkish:

    sickly sentimentality.

  6. faint or feeble, as light or color.


  1. in a sick or sickly manner.

verb (used with object)

, sick·lied, sick·ly·ing.
  1. to cover with a sickly hue.


/ ˈsɪklɪ /


  1. disposed to frequent ailments; not healthy; weak
  2. of, relating to, or caused by sickness
  3. (of a smell, taste, etc) causing revulsion or nausea
  4. (of light or colour) faint or feeble
  5. mawkish; insipid

    sickly affectation


  1. in a sick or sickly manner

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Derived Forms

  • ˈsickliness, noun

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Other Words From

  • sickli·ness noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of sickly1

1300–50; Middle English siklich, sekly (adj.). See sick 1, -ly

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Example Sentences

Martinus Beijerinck, a Dutch microbiologist and botanist, demonstrated that viruses cause disease by experimenting with sap from sickly tobacco-plant leaves during the 19th century.

Born in 1928, Walter Tevis was a sickly, unhappy child, confined for many months to a hospital bed and dosed with addictive phenobarbital because of rheumatic heart disease.

The problem, it turned out, was that the algorithms’ designers assumed that patients who spent more on health care were more sickly and needed more help.

Bennett was sickly and needed full-time medical care, so Ada took him to an orphanage while trying to earn enough money to provide for her son by sewing for the prospectors who were the lifeblood of the violent and rough-edged Alaskan city.

From Ozy

Furthermore, use the bones from healthy looking game animals that you’ve taken and avoid using the bones from sickly ones.

Neruda suffered from cancer, and he looked unwell, with a sickly yellow glow.

At 9:03, the second plane banked sickly toward the south tower as the world watched on television.

How did your family react to seeing you so skinny and sickly looking?

A hunter comes across a sickly gorilla, too weak to defend itself from the blows of his cleaver.

Seconds later my friend picked me up in front of the truck stop, his face a sickly shade of white.

If the father is old or sickly, the son sleeps near him by night, and does not leave his presence by day.

His face was sickly, and never free from the traces of acute anxiety that was eating at his heart.

The climate of those mountains is cold rather than temperate, and less healthful than sickly.

It is the offspring of a sickly taste, a deceitful heart, and a sure proof of low breeding.

His childhood, except when he could be rocked and sung into sickly sleep, was one long piteous wail.


Related Words




sick listsickness