from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Not healthy; sick: I began to feel ill last week.
  • adj. Not normal; unsound: an ill condition of body and mind.
  • adj. Resulting in suffering; harmful or distressing: the ill effects of a misconceived policy.
  • adj. Resulting from or suggestive of evil intentions: ill deeds committed out of spite.
  • adj. Ascribing an objectionable quality: holds an ill view of that political group.
  • adj. Hostile or unfriendly: ill feeling between rivals.
  • adj. Harmful; pernicious: the ill effects of a misconceived policy.
  • adj. Not favorable; unpropitious: ill predictions.
  • adj. Not measuring up to recognized standards of excellence, as of behavior or conduct.
  • adv. In a sickly or unsound manner; not well.
  • adv. Scarcely or with difficulty.
  • n. Evil; sin.
  • n. Disaster, distress, or harm.
  • n. Something that causes suffering; trouble: the social ills of urban life.
  • n. Something that reflects in an unfavorable way on one: Please don't speak ill of me when I'm gone.
  • idiom ill at ease Anxious or unsure; uneasy: The stranger made me feel ill at ease.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Extremely bad (bad enough to make one ill). Generally used indirectly with to be.
  • adv. Not well; imperfectly, badly; hardly.
  • n. Trouble; distress; misfortune; adversity.
  • n. Harm or injury.
  • n. Evil; moral wrongfulness.
  • n. A physical ailment; an illness.
  • n. Unfavorable remarks or opinions.
  • n. PCP, phencyclidine

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Contrary to good, in a physical sense; contrary or opposed to advantage, happiness, etc.; bad; evil; unfortunate; disagreeable; unfavorable.
  • adj. Contrary to good, in a moral sense; evil; wicked; wrong; iniquitious; naughtly; bad; improper.
  • adj. Sick; indisposed; unwell; diseased; disordered.
  • adj. Not according with rule, fitness, or propriety; incorrect; rude; unpolished; inelegant.
  • adv. In a ill manner; badly; weakly.
  • n. Whatever annoys or impairs happiness, or prevents success; evil of any kind; misfortune; calamity; disease; pain.
  • n. Whatever is contrary to good, in a moral sense; wickedness; depravity; iniquity; wrong; evil.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Inherently bad or evil; of pernicious quality or character; vicious; wicked; malevolent.
  • Causing evil or harm; baneful; mischievous; pernicious; deleterious: as, it is an ill wind that blows nobody good.
  • Marked or attended by evil or suffering; disastrous; wretched; miserable: as, an ill fate; an ill ending.
  • Of bad import, bearing, or aspect; threatening; forbidding; harsh; inimical: as, ill news travels fast; an ill countenance.
  • In a bad or disordered state morally; unbalanced; cross; crabbed; unfriendly; unpropitious; hostile: as, ill nature; ill temper; ill feeling; ill will.
  • In a disordered state physically; diseased; impaired: as, to be ill of a fever; to be taken ill; ill health.
  • Not proper; not legitimate or polite; rude; unpolished: as, ill manners; ill breeding.
  • Unskilful; inexpert: as, I am ill at reckoning.
  • n. Evil; wrong; wickedness; depravity.
  • n. Misfortune; calamity; adversity; disaster; disease; pain.
  • n. Anything that is discreditable or injurious.
  • Badly; imperfectly; unfavorably; unfortunately.
  • Not easily; with hardship, pain, or difficulty: as, he is ill able to bear the loss.
  • To do evil to; harm; injure.
  • To slander; defame.
  • n. Abbreviations of Illinois.
  • n. Abbreviations of illustrated or of illustration.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. affected by an impairment of normal physical or mental function
  • adj. resulting in suffering or adversity
  • adv. with difficulty or inconvenience; scarcely or hardly
  • adv. (`ill' is often used as a combining form) in a poor or improper or unsatisfactory manner; not well
  • adj. distressing
  • n. an often persistent bodily disorder or disease; a cause for complaining
  • adj. presaging ill fortune
  • adv. unfavorably or with disapproval
  • adj. indicating hostility or enmity


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old Norse īllr, bad.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English ille ‘evil, wicked’, from Old Norse illr (adj.), illa (adv.), ilt (noun) (whence Danish ild), from Proto-Germanic *elhilaz, from Proto-Indo-European *h₁elḱ- (whence Latin ulcus ‘sore’, Ancient Greek hélkos ‘wound, ulcer’, Sanskrit árśas ‘hemorrhoids’).



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  • Really? That's ill!

    November 3, 2008

  • Interlibrary loan.

    July 25, 2008

  • A word that surely could only have come to mean cool by one tragic happenstance: when all the world's linguists and lexicographers suddenly decided to take a bathroom break at the same time. A highly improbable coinkydink that they all quickly apologized for, but it was too late. The damage caused by that brief, seemingly harmless event, is irreversible.

    Many language scholars lost their jobs in the wake of the travesty; it's rumored that most fled to Wordie in a desperate attempt to escape their sorrows. Today they work mostly as unskilled laborers in agricultural and civil service positions but must remain anonymous online or risk reopening those painful old wounds.

    All we ask is for forgiveness.

    May 11, 2007