Definition of poorly in English:


Pronunciation: /ˈpʊəli//ˈpɔːli/


  • 1In a way that is unsatisfactory or inadequate.

    ‘schools that were performing poorly’
    [as submodifier] ‘a poorly attended church’
    • ‘In France, at national and club level, when a team is performing poorly, supporters desert their side in droves.’
    • ‘Britain is also pulling away from France and Italy and other poorly performing Euro-zone economies.’
    • ‘Clare performed poorly in Division 2A winning only two of their seven league games.’
    • ‘Without a strong emphasis on learning, we will end up with a poorly skilled workforce which performs badly economically.’
    • ‘It was that beauty the great poets dream about but describe most poorly and inadequately.’
    • ‘One British athlete who could legitimately claim to have an excuse for performing poorly here is Jonathan Edwards.’
    • ‘Information within a resource may be poorly organised or have inadequate titles or subtitles.’
    • ‘We do our best, it's an amateur sport, and people have to remember that we don't go out to perform poorly.’
    • ‘Another poorly performing area is the southeast of England, which has the highest rate of dog and cat heart disease.’
    • ‘The committee meeting was open to all 44 clubs, with two votes available per club, but was poorly attended.’
    • ‘Yet chronic disease is often poorly treated and inadequately prevented.’
    • ‘In comparison, Geraldton meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday were poorly attended.’
    • ‘It was re-edited, but still performed poorly on its original release.’
    • ‘Many mortuaries are dilapidated or poorly designed with inadequate viewing facilities.’
    • ‘It is also the case that the BBC performs rather poorly when it is most concerned about ratings and loses sight of reach.’
    • ‘In some schools, according to the Times, poorly performing students are encouraged to drop out.’
    • ‘Government intervention has been in the form of a law that is inadequate and poorly implemented.’
    • ‘The KPU has also been performing poorly in conducting public campaigns about the elections.’
    • ‘Many Irish companies communicate poorly and give inadequate feedback to employees.’
    • ‘Under the star ratings system, trusts could still do well overall even if they performed poorly on financial management.’
    badly, deficiently, defectively, faultily, imperfectly, unsuccessfully, incompetently, inexpertly, abjectly, appallingly, abysmally, atrociously, awfully, terribly, dismally, dreadfully
    crudely, shoddily, inadequately, unsatisfactorily, unacceptably, execrably, frightfully
    crummily, diabolically
    View synonyms
  • 2With insufficient money.

    ‘he lived as poorly as his peasant parishioners’
    • ‘A few have nets, but most are forced to try to make some money as poorly paid day labourers.’
    • ‘Yes, these jobs provide work and money but they are poorly paid and usually short term.’
    • ‘She is angry not that he lives poorly, but that he has given up after she has given him everything.’
    • ‘Let it be enough for you to have bread and live virtuously and poorly like Christ, as I do here.’


  • Unwell.

    ‘she looked poorly’
    • ‘Zoe Bird, 26, was forced to walk for an hour to reach her home with poorly toddler son Ryan after they were forced to leave the car.’
    • ‘Adult winner Lisa Sainsbury said her tale about the unique allure of food was based on her poorly grandmother.’
    • ‘There was me dancing all the way down Main Street, despite my poorly leg.’
    • ‘A writer is hoping for chart success with a touching song devoted to poorly youngster Kirsty Howard.’
    • ‘In fact, even when she is poorly Sophie just keeps going until she just can't do any more.’
    • ‘Yesterday, he remained in a stable but poorly condition in the intensive care unit at Leeds General Infirmary.’
    • ‘On Saturday night, at work, a poorly woman in the audience chucked up.’
    • ‘He's in a very poorly state, apparently, and the prospect of a good recovery doesn't look too hopeful.’
    • ‘I didn't manage too many lengths today but I haven't been for 2 weeks since being poorly sick.’
    • ‘Jakey on the other hand is poorly due to having an injection.’
    • ‘Last year he accidentally ate some carrots that hadn't been washed and later he had a poorly tummy.’
    • ‘This will make it possible to transfer poorly patients in and out of bed with maximum safety and comfort’
    • ‘I'm really trying to not do the whole stereotypical poorly male thing, but I can't help it.’
    • ‘Premiership stars took time out from training to give poorly children a massive Christmas boost.’
    • ‘She finally called it a day and left without even seeing her poorly pal.’
    • ‘The Palazzo Mocenigo, where Byron lived for many months alongside dogs, cats, monkeys and a poorly crow.’
    • ‘Daniel is still in a very poorly condition in the Critical Care Unit at Royal Preston Hospital.’
    • ‘They have opened a hospice for poorly cats and dogs and I decided I wanted to help them out.’
    • ‘A year ago I was in a poorly state, and my heart was protesting in the only way it knows.’
    • ‘At present, very poorly children are cared for in two small rooms with limited equipment.’
    ill, unwell, indisposed, ailing, not well, not very well, not oneself, not in good shape, out of sorts, not up to par, below par, under par, peaky, liverish
    sick, queasy, nauseous
    off, off colour
    under the weather, not up to snuff, funny, peculiar, crummy, lousy, rough
    ropy, grotty
    queer, seedy
    View synonyms