Definitions

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

  • adj. Having little or no wealth and few or no possessions.
  • adj. Lacking in a specified resource or quality: an area poor in timber and coal; a diet poor in calcium.
  • adj. Not adequate in quality; inferior: a poor performance.
  • adj. Lacking in value; insufficient: poor wages.
  • adj. Lacking in quantity: poor attendance.
  • adj. Lacking fertility: poor soil.
  • adj. Undernourished; lean.
  • adj. Humble: a poor spirit.
  • adj. Eliciting or deserving pity; pitiable: couldn't rescue the poor fellow.
  • n. People with little or no wealth and possessions considered as a group: The urban poor are in need of homes.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Destitute of property; wanting in material riches or goods; needy; indigent.
  • adj. So completely destitute of property as to be entitled to maintenance from the public.
  • adj. Destitute of such qualities as are desirable, or might naturally be expected.
  • adj. Wanting in fat, plumpness, or fleshiness; lean; emaciated; meager
  • adj. Wanting in strength or vigor; feeble; dejected.
  • adj. Of little value or worth; not good; inferior; shabby; mean.
  • adj. Destitute of fertility; exhausted; barren; sterile; -- said of land.
  • adj. Destitute of beauty, fitness, or merit.
  • adj. Without prosperous conditions or good results; unfavorable; unfortunate; unconformable.
  • adj. Inadequate; insufficient; insignificant.
  • adj. 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.
  • adj. Free from self-assertion; not proud or arrogant; meek.
  • n. A small European codfish (Gadus minutus); -- called also power cod.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. In England, a gadoid fish, Gadus minutus.
  • To pet in a pitying, compassionate way.

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

  • n. people without possessions or wealth (considered as a group)
  • adj. characterized by or indicating poverty
  • adj. not sufficient to meet a need
  • adj. having little money or few possessions
  • adj. unsatisfactory
  • adj. lacking in specific resources, qualities or substances
  • adj. deserving or inciting pity

Etymologies

Middle English poure, from Old French povre, from Latin pauper.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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"). (Wiktionary)

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