American English

Definition of poor adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    , NAmE//pɔr//
    (poorer, poorest)
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    having little money
  1. 1having very little money; not having enough money for basic needs They were too poor to buy shoes for the kids. We aim to help the poorest families. It's among the poorer countries of the world. opposite rich
  2. 2the poor noun [plural] people who have very little money They provided food and shelter for the poor. opposite rich
  3. unfortunate
  4. 3[only before noun] deserving sympathy Have you heard about poor oldHarry? His wife's left him. It's hungry—the poor little thing. “I have tons of homework to do.” “Oh,you poor thing.”
  5. not good
  6. 4not good; of a quality that is low or lower than expected the party's poor performance in the election to be in poor health It was raining heavily and visibility was poor. poor food/light/soil to have a poor opinion of someone (= to not think well of someone)
  7. 5(of a person) not good or skilled at something a poor swimmer a poor judge of character She's a good teacher but a poor manager. a poor sailor (= someone who easily gets sick at sea)
  8. having little of something
  9. 6poor in something having very small amounts of something a country poor in natural resources soil poor in nutrients opposite rich
  10. Thesauruspoordisadvantaged needy low-income impoverished deprived penniless hard upThese words all describe someone who has very little or no money and therefore cannot satisfy their basic needs.poor having very little money; not having enough money for basic needs:They were too poor to buy shoes for the kids.disadvantaged having less money and fewer opportunities than most people in society:economically disadvantaged areas of the cityneedy poor:It's a charity that provides assistance to needy children.low-income having less money to live on than most people in society:Our agency helps low-income families pay their heating bills.impoverished (journalism) poor:Thousands of impoverished families in rural areas are desperate to move to the cities.deprived [usually before noun] without enough food, education, and all the things that are necessary for people to live a happy and comfortable lifewhich word?Poor is the most general of these words and can be used to describe yourself, another individual person, people as a group, or a country or an area. Needy is mostly used to describe people considered as a group. It is not used to talk about yourself or individual people:poor/needy/low-income children/families They were too needy to buy shoes for the kids.Low-income is a polite way to describe people who are poor. Impoverished is used, especially in journalism, to talk about poor countries and the people who live there. To talk about poor areas in rich countries, use deprived.penniless (literary) having no money; very poor:He died penniless in Paris.hard up (informal) having very little money, especially for a short period of time:I was always hard up as a student.Patterns poor/disadvantaged/needy/low-income/impoverished/deprived/penniless/hard-up people/families poor/disadvantaged/needy/low-income/impoverished/deprived areas poor/disadvantaged/low-income/impoverished countries a(n) poor/disadvantaged/impoverished/deprived backgroundIdioms
    the poor man's somebody/something
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    a person or thing that is similar, to but of a lower quality than, a particular famous person or thing Sparkling white wine is the poor man's champagne.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: poor