from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Having insufficient wealth to meet the necessities or comforts of life or to live in a manner considered acceptable in a society.
  • adjective Relating to or characterized by poverty.
  • adjective Deficient or lacking in a specified resource or quality.
  • adjective Not adequate in quality or quantity; inferior.
  • adjective Negative, unfavorable, or disapproving.
  • adjective Undernourished; lean. Used especially of animals.
  • adjective Humble; meek.
  • adjective Eliciting or deserving pity; pitiable.
  • noun Poor people considered as a group.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To pet in a pitying, compassionate way.
  • noun In England, a gadoid fish, Gadus minutus.
  • Possessing little; destitute of wealth: opposed to rich: as, a poor man; a poor community.
  • Lacking means to procure the comforts of life; indigent; needy; necessitous; specifically, in law, so destitute or impoverished as to be dependent upon charity, or upon the poorrates; pauper.
  • Deficient in or destitute of desirable or essential qualities; lacking those qualities which render a thing valuable, desirable, suitable, or sufficient for its purpose; inferior; bad: as, poor bread; poor health; cattle in poor condition.
  • In particular— Of little consequence; trifling; insignificant; paltry: as, a poor excuse.
  • Mean; shabby: as, a poor outfit; poor surroundings.
  • Lean; meager; emaciated: as, poor cattle.
  • Lacking in fertility; barren; exhausted: as, poor land.
  • Lacking in spirit or vigor; feeble; impotent.
  • Destitute of merit or worth; barren; jejune: as, a poor discourse; a poor essay.
  • Unfortunate; to be pitied or regretted: much used colloquially as a vague epithet indicative of sympathy or pity for one who is sick, feeble, or unhappy, or of regret for one who is dead.
  • Miserable; wretched: used in contempt.
  • Humble; slight; insignificant: used modestly in speaking of things pertaining to one's self.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) A small European codfish (Gadus minutus); -- called also power cod.
  • adjective Destitute of property; wanting in material riches or goods; needy; indigent.
  • adjective (Law) So completely destitute of property as to be entitled to maintenance from the public.
  • adjective Destitute of such qualities as are desirable, or might naturally be expected.
  • adjective Wanting in fat, plumpness, or fleshiness; lean; emaciated; meager
  • adjective Wanting in strength or vigor; feeble; dejected.
  • adjective Of little value or worth; not good; inferior; shabby; mean.
  • adjective Destitute of fertility; exhausted; barren; sterile; -- said of land.
  • adjective Destitute of beauty, fitness, or merit.
  • adjective Without prosperous conditions or good results; unfavorable; unfortunate; unconformable.
  • adjective Inadequate; insufficient; insignificant.
  • adjective Worthy of pity or sympathy; -- used also sometimes as a term of endearment, or as an expression of modesty, and sometimes as a word of contempt.
  • adjective Free from self-assertion; not proud or arrogant; meek.
  • adjective a law providing for, or regulating, the relief or support of the poor.
  • adjective (Bot.), [Eng] garlic; -- so called because it was thought to be an antidote to animal poison.
  • adjective (Bot.) the red-flowered pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis), which opens its blossoms only in fair weather.
  • adjective an assessment or tax, as in an English parish, for the relief or support of the poor.
  • adjective (Zoöl.) the friar bird.
  • adjective those who are destitute of property; the indigent; the needy. In a legal sense, those who depend on charity or maintenance by the public.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective With little or no possessions or money.
  • adjective Of low quality.
  • adjective To be pitied.
  • adjective Deficient in a specified way.
  • adjective inadequate, insufficient
  • noun with "the" Those who have little or no possessions or money, taken as a group.

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

  • noun people without possessions or wealth (considered as a group)


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

[Middle English poure, from Old French povre, from Latin pauper; see pau- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English povre, povere, from Old French (and Anglo-Norman) povre, poure (Modern French pauvre), from Latin 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").


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