poor

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See also: pöör

English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Middle English povre, povere, from Old French (and Anglo-Norman) povre, poure (Modern French pauvre), from Latin pauper (English pauper), from Old Latin *pavo-pars ‎(getting little), from Proto-Indo-European *ph₁w- ‎(smallness). Cognate with Old English fēawa ‎(little, few). Displaced native Middle English earm, arm ‎(poor) (from Old English earm; See arm), Middle English wantsum, wantsome ‎(poor, needy) (from Old Norse vant ‎(deficiency, lack, want), Middle English unlede ‎(poor) (from Old English unlǣde, Middle English unweli, unwely ‎(poor, unwealthy) (from Old English un- + weliġ ‎(well-to-do, prosperous, rich).

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

poor ‎(comparative poorer, superlative poorest)

  1. With little or no possessions or money.
    We were so poor that we couldn't afford shoes.
  2. Of low quality.
    That was a poor performance.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 10, The Mirror and the Lamp:
      He looked round the poor room, at the distempered walls, and the bad engravings in meretricious frames, the crinkly paper and wax flowers on the chiffonier; and he thought of a room like Father Bryan's, with panelling, with cut glass, with tulips in silver pots, such a room as he had hoped to have for his own.
  3. Used to express pity.
    Oh you poor little thing.
    • 1915, Mrs. Belloc Lowndes, The Lodger, chapter I:
      Thanks to that penny he had just spent so recklessly [on a newspaper] he would pass a happy hour, taken, for once, out of his anxious, despondent, miserable self. It irritated him shrewdly to know that these moments of respite from carking care would not be shared with his poor wife, with careworn, troubled Ellen.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 15, The China Governess[1]:
      Mr. Campion sighed. ‘Poor man,’ he said. ‘He sees his great sacrifices rejected by the gods, and so, no doubt, all the Misses Eumenides let loose again to plague him.’
  4. Deficient in a specified way.
    Cow's milk is poor in iron.
  5. Inadequate, insufficient.
    I received a poor reward for all my hard work.
    • Edmund Calamy (1600-1666)
      That I have wronged no man will be a poor plea or apology at the last day.
  6. Free from self-assertion; not proud or arrogant; meek.

Usage notes[edit]

When the word "poor" is used to express pity, it can only be used attributively ("the poor child" can express pity, but "the child was poor" cannot) and non-restrictively (one cannot say "the poor child" in order to distinguish the child from another child which is not pitied).

Synonyms[edit]

Antonyms[edit]

  • (having little or no possessions): rich
  • (of low quality): good
  • (deficient in a specified way): rich
  • (inadequate): adequate

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Noun[edit]

poor pl ‎(plural only)

  1. (with "the") Those who have little or no possessions or money, taken as a group.
    The poor are always with us.

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Statistics[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Limburgish[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Walloon porea

Noun[edit]

poor m

  1. leek

Old French[edit]

Noun[edit]

poor f ‎(oblique plural poors, nominative singular poor, nominative plural poors)

  1. fear