poorpoor /pɔː $ pʊr/ ●●●S1W1 adjective (comparative poorer, superlative poorest)1no moneyPOORa)having very little money and not many possessions opp richHer family were so poor they couldn’t afford to buy her new clothes.an area where poor people livedone of the poorest countries in the worlda poor part of Chicago (=where a lot of poor people live)My grandparents grew up dirt poor (=very poor).desperately/extremely poorMany of the families are desperately poor.b)the poor [plural]POOR people who are poorIt’s the government’s responsibility to help the poor.the rural/urban/working poortax relief for the working poor2not goodBAD not as good as it could be or should beThe soil in this area is very poor.poor rates of payHe 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/memoryHer hearing is poor, so speak fairly loudly.make/do a poor job of doing somethingThe builders did a really poor job of fixing our roof.► see thesaurus at bad3sympathy [only before noun] spokenUNLUCKY used to show sympathy for someone because they are so unlucky, unhappy etcPoor 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.4not good at somethingBAD AT not good at doing somethinga poor public speakerpoor atHe’s poor at sports.5healthMIILL someone whose health is poor is ill or weak for a long period of timeMy 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 tasteat 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 formalimpoverished 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