From King Dictionary of Contemporary English
Related topics: Illness & disability
poorpoor /pɔː $ pʊr/ ●●● S1 W1 adjective (comparative poorer, superlative poorest) 1 no moneyPOOR a) having very little money and not many possessions OPP rich Her family were so poor they couldn’t afford to buy her new clothes. an area where poor people lived one of the poorest countries in the world a poor part of Chicago (=where a lot of poor people live) My grandparents grew up dirt poor (=very poor).desperately/extremely poor Many of the families are desperately poor. b) the poor [plural]POOR people who are poor It’s the government’s responsibility to help the poor.the rural/urban/working poor tax relief for the working poor2 not goodBAD not as good as it could be or should be The soil in this area is very poor. poor rates of pay He blames himself for the team’s poor performance.of poor quality (=not made well or not made of good materials) The jacket was of very poor quality.poor hearing/eyesight/memory Her hearing is poor, so speak fairly loudly.make/do a poor job of doing something The builders did a really poor job of fixing our roof.see thesaurus at bad3 sympathy [only before noun] spokenUNLUCKY used to show sympathy for someone because they are so unlucky, unhappy etc Poor kid, he’s had a rough day. You poor thing, you’ve had a hard time of it, haven’t you? Poor old Ted was sick for weeks.4 not good at somethingBAD AT not good at doing something a poor public speakerpoor at He’s poor at sports.5 healthMIILL someone whose health is poor is ill or weak for a long period of time My parents are both in rather poor health. 6 poor in something7 a poor second/third etc8 the poor man’s somebody9 the poor man’s something10 poor relation be in bad/poor taste at taste1(4), poorly1COLLOCATIONSadverbsextremely poorHis parents were extremely poor. desperately poor (=so poor that it causes great suffering)Half the population remains desperately poor.dirt poor American English informal (=extremely poor)We were dirt poor back then.adjectivesthe rural poor (=poor people who live in the countryside)Difficult economic conditions have driven millions of the rural poor to cities.the urban poor (=poor people who live in towns and cities)The condition of the urban poor could no longer be ignored.the working poor (=poor people who have jobs, rather than unemployed people)These tax-cut proposals are targeted at the working poor. THESAURUSpoor having very little money and not many possessions – used about people or placesMany families were too poor to pay for education.poor countrieshard up/broke (also skint British English) [not before noun] informal having very little money, especially for a short period of time. Skint is more informal than the other wordsI’m a bit hard up at the momentWe were so broke we couldn’t afford to go out to the cinema. developing [only before noun] a developing country is poor and has very little industryThe disease is found mainly in developing countries.the developing worlddeprived [usually before noun] much poorer than other people in a country, and not having the things that are necessary for a comfortable or happy life – used about people and areasThe charity works with deprived children in the inner city.one of the most deprived areas of Londondisadvantaged especially written used about groups of people in society who have much less chance of being successful because they are poorAn increase in the minimum wage would help the most disadvantaged Americans.needy having very little money, and so needing help – used about groups of peopleMore help should be given to needy families.We offer scholarships for needy students.destitute especially written having no money or possessions and nowhere to live – used when someone is in a very bad situationHer family was left destitute after her father died.destitute refugeesimpoverished formal impoverished people and places are very poorout-of-work miners and their impoverished familiesThe children come from impoverished neighbourhoods.one of the world’s most impoverished countriespoverty-stricken written extremely poorpoverty-stricken areasThey were left poverty-stricken.penniless especially literary having no moneyShe died penniless.a penniless studentCOLLOCATIONS CHECKdeprived area/children/homes/backgrounddisadvantaged groups/children/students/backgroundneedy children/students/familiesimpoverished families/areas/countriespoverty-stricken areas/countries/people
Examples from the Corpus
poorAttendance at the meeting was poor.Her chances of recovery are poor.Her mother grew up dirt poor among migrant workers in Alabama.Poor baby. Come here and let me give you a cuddle.The land around here is poor because of years of intensive farming.People who live in poor countries have a much lower life expectancy.She was born in a poor district of Chicago in 1925.Elaine comes from a poor family.The poor girl gets blamed for everything that goes wrong.For the long term, today's crisis is obviously a poor guide.The soil is very poor in minerals and needs some fertilizer.These examinations are probably a poor instrument for measuring the quality of medical education because they concentrate on factual retention.Should children attempt to read in poor light?a poor math studentThese cuts will hit the poorest members of society.I often think of poor Mrs Carrow now.a poor neighborhoodI hear poor old Steve broke his ankle.In fact poor people have more at stake in preserving the resources they depend on.We budgeted an improvement to 1991's poor results in anticipation of a recovery in the economy which never materialised.The poor, sick, bereaved, came knocking at the door.His memory is poor, so you may need to repeat things.Most herbs grow fairly well in dry, poor soil.The Scotts are so poor they can barely afford milk and bread.They were so poor they couldn't afford to buy shoes for their children.Some Democrats believed they lost the election because many poor women didn't turn out to vote.make/do a poor job of doing somethingThe script does a poor job of explaining the complicated sociopolitical machinations that many believe will accompany the end-time.Poor oldThose who do should go here. Poor old Babelfish wasn't much help.She always preferred men in the house. Poor old Hilda - lost out there, as in everything else!But the Globe burnt right down to the ground in an hour. Poor old John Heminges just stood there and cried.Very low. Poor old Matt.She hoped that she did not appear to others like a worthy cause. Poor old Meredith, all on her own.Poor old Phil hasn't been on a date in years.You can tell by the way she falls upon these offerings. Poor old thing.poor atHe's poor at reading.in ... poor healthRumors were rampant that the octogenarian was senile and in poor health.The South and some industrial states have higher index numbers, which means residents there are in poorer health.Vincent had looked up Sien and been dismayed to find her and the children in poor health and deplorable conditions.His wife was in poor health and would suffer if he was jailed.Gerstung was not wealthy, Duncan said, nor was she in unusually poor health for a woman her age.Who could blame a wife, herself elderly and in poor health, for suggesting suicide to her terminally ill husband?At 72 and in poor health, he suffered a heart attack while police officers were still searching for clues.The effects are more severe than oxygen depletion and may result in prolonged poor health in your fish.
Origin poor (1100-1200) Old French povre, from Latin pauper