poorness, n.
/poor/, adj., poorer, poorest, n.
1. having little or no money, goods, or other means of support: a poor family living on welfare.
2. Law. dependent upon charity or public support.
3. (of a country, institution, etc.) meagerly supplied or endowed with resources or funds.
4. characterized by or showing poverty.
5. deficient or lacking in something specified: a region poor in mineral deposits.
6. faulty or inferior, as in construction: poor workmanship.
7. deficient in desirable ingredients, qualities, or the like: poor soil.
8. excessively lean or emaciated, as cattle.
9. of an inferior, inadequate, or unsatisfactory kind: poor health.
10. lacking in skill, ability, or training: a poor cook.
11. deficient in moral excellence; cowardly, abject, or mean.
12. scanty, meager, or paltry in amount or number: a poor audience.
13. humble; modest: They shared their poor meal with a stranger.
14. unfortunate; hapless: The poor dog was limping.
15. poor as a church mouse, extremely poor.
16. poor as Job's turkey, extremely poor; impoverished.
17. (used with a pl. v.) poor persons collectively (usually prec. by the): sympathy for the poor.
[1150-1200; ME pov(e)re < OF povre < L pauper. See PAUPER]
Syn. 1. needy, indigent, necessitous, straitened, destitute, penniless, poverty-stricken. POOR, IMPECUNIOUS, IMPOVERISHED, PENNILESS refer to those lacking money. POOR is the simple term for the condition of lacking means to obtain the comforts of life: a very poor family. IMPECUNIOUS often suggests that the poverty is a consequence of unwise habits: an impecunious actor. IMPOVERISHED often implies a former state of greater plenty, from which one has been reduced: the impoverished aristocracy.
PENNILESS may mean destitute, or it may apply simply to a temporary condition of being without funds: The widow was left penniless with three small children. 5. meager. 6. unsatisfactory, shabby. 7. sterile, barren, unfruitful, unproductive. 8. thin, skinny, meager, gaunt. 14. miserable, unhappy, pitiable.
Ant. 1, 5, 7. rich. 1, 3, 4. wealthy.
Pronunciation. In the North and North Midland U.S., the vowel of POOR is most often /oo/. POOR and sure thus contrast with pour and shore: /poor/, /shoor/ versus /pawr/, /shawr/ or /pohr/, /shohr/. In the South Midland and South, the vowel of POOR is generally /aw/ or /oh/ (often with the final /r/ dropped), which means that in these areas, POOR and pour are homophones, as are sure and shore. Both types of pronunciation exist in the British Isles.

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