• WordNet 3.6
    • adj poor deserving or inciting pity "a hapless victim","miserable victims of war","the shabby room struck her as extraordinarily pathetic"- Galsworthy","piteous appeals for help","pitiable homeless children","a pitiful fate","Oh, you poor thing","his poor distorted limbs","a wretched life"
    • adj poor unsatisfactory "a poor light for reading","poor morale","expectations were poor"
    • adj poor having little money or few possessions "deplored the gap between rich and poor countries","the proverbial poor artist living in a garret"
    • adj poor lacking in specific resources, qualities or substances "a poor land","the area was poor in timber and coal","food poor in nutritive value"
    • adj poor characterized by or indicating poverty "the country had a poor economy","they lived in the poor section of town"
    • adj poor not sufficient to meet a need "an inadequate income","a poor salary","money is short","on short rations","food is in short supply","short on experience"
    • n poor people without possessions or wealth (considered as a group) "the urban poor need assistance"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Seeing the Poor Devils Who Had Gone Broke 166 Seeing the Poor Devils Who Had Gone Broke 166
Poor old Robinson Crusoe Poor old Robinson Crusoe
Poor creeter! it wuz too bad that there should be so many of 'em Poor creeter! it wuz too bad that there should be so many of 'em
The "Six Poor Travellers" The "Six Poor Travellers"
The "Six Poor Travellers" from the Rear The "Six Poor Travellers" from the Rear
A Dormitory in the "Six Poor Travellers" and Gallery Leading to the Dormitories A Dormitory in the "Six Poor Travellers" and Gallery Leading to the Dormitories
The Wolf attacks the poor Grandmother The Wolf attacks the poor Grandmother

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: 70% of the poor people in the world are female
    • n Poor (Zoöl) A small European codfish (Gadus minutus); -- called also power cod.
    • Poor Destitute of beauty, fitness, or merit; as, a poor discourse; a poor picture.
    • Poor Destitute of fertility; exhausted; barren; sterile; -- said of land; as, poor soil.
    • Poor Destitute of property; wanting in material riches or goods; needy; indigent.
    • Poor Destitute of such qualities as are desirable, or might naturally be expected
    • Poor Free from self-assertion; not proud or arrogant; meek. "Blessed are the poor in spirit."
    • Poor Inadequate; insufficient; insignificant; as, a poor excuse.
    • Poor Of little value or worth; not good; inferior; shabby; mean; as, poor clothes; poor lodgings.
    • Poor (Law) So completely destitute of property as to be entitled to maintenance from the public.
    • Poor Wanting in fat, plumpness, or fleshiness; lean; emaciated; meager; as, a poor horse, ox, dog, etc.
    • Poor Wanting in strength or vigor; feeble; dejected; as, poor health; poor spirits.
    • Poor Without prosperous conditions or good results; unfavorable; unfortunate; unconformable; as, a poor business; the sick man had a poor night.
    • Poor 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. "And for mine own poor part,
      Look you, I'll go pray."
      "Poor , little, pretty, fluttering thing."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Better wine can be produced by the soil being of poor quality. This is because the vines have to "work" harder
    • poor Possessing little; destitute of wealth: opposed to rich: as, a poor man; a poor community.
    • poor 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.
    • poor 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.
    • poor In particular— Of little consequence; trifling; insignificant; paltry: as, a poor excuse.
    • poor Mean; shabby: as, a poor outfit; poor surroundings.
    • poor Lean; meager; emaciated: as, poor cattle.
    • poor Lacking in fertility; barren; exhausted: as, poor land.
    • poor Lacking in spirit or vigor; feeble; impotent.
    • poor Destitute of merit or worth; barren; jejune: as, a poor discourse; a poor essay.
    • poor 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.
    • poor Miserable; wretched: used in contempt.
    • poor Humble; slight; insignificant: used modestly in speaking of things pertaining to one's self.
    • n poor In England, a gadoid fish, Gadus minutus.
    • poor To pet in a pitying, compassionate way.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: A study concludes that kids who snore do poorly in school
    • adj Poor pōōr having little or nothing: without means: needy: spiritless: depressed:
    • adj Poor pōōr (B.) humble: contrite: wanting in appearance: lean: wanting in strength: weak: wanting in value: inferior: wanting in fertility: sterile: wanting in fitness, beauty, or dignity: trifling: paltry: dear (endearingly)
    • ***


  • John Ray
    John Ray
    “Children are poor men's riches.”
  • William Butler Yeats
    “But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”
  • Charles Fillmore
    Charles Fillmore
    “It is a sin to be poor.”
  • Spanish Proverb
    Spanish Proverb
    “A poor man is all schemes.”
  • Jean-Paul Sartre
    “When the rich wage war it is the poor who die.”
  • Oscar Wilde
    “Who, being loved, is poor?”


A poor man's something - Something or someone that can be compared to something or someone else, but is not as good is a poor man's version; a writer who uses lots of puns but isn't very funny would be a poor man's Oscar Wilde.
Poor as a church mouse - If someone is as poor as a church mouse, they are very poor indeed.
Root hog or die poor - (USA) It's a expression used in the Southern USA that means that you must look out for yourself as no one's going to do it for you. (It can be shortened to 'root hog'. A hog is a pig.)


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. poure, or povre, OF. povre, F. pauvre, L. pauper,; the first syllable of which is probably akin to paucus, few (see Paucity Few), and the second to parare, to prepare, procure. See Few, and cf. Parade Pauper Poverty
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. poure, povre (Fr. pauvre)—L. pauper, poor.


In literature:

Beside that sweet expansion, how poor and feverish and earth-stained the poor child felt herself!
"Robert Elsmere" by Mrs. Humphry Ward
Oh, poor Zerbino; poor Dulcie!
"Nobody's Boy" by Hector Malot
The poor young fellow was quite comfortless at having so poor a lot.
"Children's Literature" by Charles Madison Curry
Poor, poor little queen without a kingdom!
"Girls of the Forest" by L. T. Meade
Poor little hands, poor little feet, so cold, so battered, so ill-used!
"The Light of Scarthey" by Egerton Castle
They've got my child, I tell you; my poor little Paul.
"A Son of Hagar" by Sir Hall Caine
The proverb expresses that poor service merits poor reward.
"The Proverbs of Scotland" by Alexander Hislop
You may laugh at me, and call me a poor philosopher and say that my philosophy has kept me poor.
"True to His Home" by Hezekiah Butterworth
There's none so near his heart now as poor Sam.
"The Vicar of Bullhampton" by Anthony Trollope
One half the poor you support by taxes and individual charity, are made poor by the use of ardent spirits.
"Select Temperance Tracts" by American Tract Society

In poetry:

A poet, much too poor to live,
Too poor, in this rich world to rove,
Too poor, for aught but verse to give,
But not, thank God, too poor to love!
"To.............: An Impromtu" by Thomas Gent
Ah, poor youth! in pitiful truth,
Thy pride must feel a fall, poor youth!
What thou shalt be well have I seen,--
Thou shalt be only what others have been.
"Forty" by Martin Farquhar Tupper
I would possess a host of lovely things,
But I am poor and such joys may not be.
So God who lifts the poor and humbles kings
Sent loveliness itself to dwell with me.
"Wealth" by Alfred Joyce Kilmer
Let poor Louise some succour have!
She will not long your bounty crave,
Or tire the gay with warning stave—
For Heaven has grace, and earth a grave,
Poor poor Louise.
"The Lay of Poor Louise" by Sir Walter Scott
Now it was Mary dreamed this dream,
Ere yet her child was born
In that poor place in Bethlehem,
In that poor stall forlorn,
Before the dark of night had fled
From the white face of morn.
"A Ballad Of The Nativity" by Charles Hanson Towne
Poor grave, poor lost beloved! but I burn
For some more vast To be.
As he that played that secret tune may turn
And strike it on a lyre triumphantly,
I wait some future, all a lyre for thee.
"To The Beloved--A Lament" by Alice Meynell

In news:

SHE developed paralysis, poor thing, after giving birth to an unusually large calf.
On July 21, 1861 - 150 years ago - the first major battle was fought between poorly trained Union and Confederate troops about three months after the Civil War began.
The past couple of years have been tough on both tobacco farmers and companies alike as decreased cigarette consumption and poor growing conditions have hampered the stability of tobacco on the farm and in the marketplace.
Sales is a banquet, to paraphrase Mame Dennis, and most poor suckers are starving to death.
Mr Ngei had been in poor health for years.
In both cases, each calf was badly dehydrated and in poor health.
Genomic Analysis Drives Tailored Therapy in Poor Risk Childhood Leukemia p139.
That staple of holiday charity, the food drive, is an inefficient relic that often produces more headaches and labor than actual benefit for the poor, says Matthew Yglesias in Slate.
They made some poor choices and they have to face the music.
Whenever you strap on a condom, there is always that concern that it's some shoddy, poorly made piece of rubber and you're going to both get her pregnant and get AIDS at the same time.
Drawbacks include poor soft tissue visualisation and exposure to radiation.
A poor excuse for violence By Ann Hornaday Friday, September 3, 2010.
It's been a poorly kept secret for a long time.
Wealth, health care chasm between rich, poor widening.
If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men's cottages princes' palaces.

In science:

The total variation upper bound is rather poor when G is nonabelian, as shown by Theorem 3.7.6.
Random walks on wreath products of groups
However, higher-order abstract syntax interacts poorly with the inductive reasoning techniques needed to reason about the properties of semantic specifications [DPS97].
From Syntactic Theories to Interpreters: A Specification Language and Its Compilation
The total mass of the 2000 K clouds is poorly known.
A Moderate Cluster Cooling Flow Model
The three virial masses are referred to as “g”, “pc” and “c” for group, poor cluster and cluster respectively.
Entropy Evolution in Galaxy Groups and Clusters; A Comparison of External and Internal Heating
For both groups and poor clusters the luminosity decreases as the amount of pre-heating increases.
Entropy Evolution in Galaxy Groups and Clusters; A Comparison of External and Internal Heating