Date: 1100-1200
Language: Old French
Origin: povre, from Latin pauper


Related topics: Illness and Disability
poor S1 W1 comparative poorer, superlative poorest

no money

a) having very little money and not many possessions [≠ 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.

the poor

[plural] people who are poor:
It's the government's responsibility to help the poor.
the rural/urban/working poor
tax relief for the working poor

not good

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.


[only before noun] spoken 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.

not good at something

not good at doing something:
a poor public speaker
poor at
He's poor at sports.


MI someone whose health is poor is ill or weak for a long period of time:
My parents are both in rather poor health.

poor in something

lacking something that is needed:
The country is poor in natural resources.

a poor second/third etc

the act of finishing a race, competition etc a long way behind the person ahead of you:
McLean won easily, and Benson was a poor second.
come (in) a poor second/third etc British English
The Socialists came a poor second with 26.5% of the vote.

the poor man's somebody

used to say that someone is like a very famous performer, writer etc but is not as good as they are:
He was the poor man's Elvis Presley.

the poor man's something

used to say that something can be used for the same purpose as something else, and is much cheaper:
Herring is the poor man's salmon.

poor relation

British English someone or something that is not treated as well as other members of a group or is much less successful than they are
poor relation of
Theatre musicians tend to be the poor relations of the musical profession.

➔ be in bad/poor taste

at taste1 (6), poorly
be hard up/be broke also be skint BrE informal to have very little money at the present time and be unable to buy the things that you want
having no money and nowhere to live, especially because something terrible has happened
very poor

Dictionary results for "poor"
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