Dictionary: POOR – POP-LIT'E-AL, or POP-LIT'IC

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POOR, a. [L. pauper; Fr. pauvre; Sp. pobre; It. povero; Arm. paour; Norm. pour, power.]

  1. Wholly destitute of property, or not having property sufficient for a comfortable subsistence; needy. It is often synonymous with indigent, and with necessitous, denoting extreme want; it is also applied to persons who are not entirely destitute of property, but are not rich; as, a poor man or woman; poor people.
  2. In law, so destitute of property as to be entitled to maintenance from the public.
  3. Destitute of strength, beauty or dignity; barren; mean; jejune; as, a poor composition; a poor essay; a poor discourse.
  4. Destitute of value, worth or importance; of little use; trifling. That I have wronged no man, will be a poor plea or apology at the last day. – Calamy.
  5. Paltry; mean; of little value; as, a poor coat; a poor house.
  6. Destitute of fertility; barren; exhausted; as, poor land. The ground is become poor.
  7. Of little worth; unimportant; as, in my poor opinion. – Swift.
  8. Unhappy; pitiable. Vex'd sailors curse the rain / For which poor shepherds pray'd in vain. – Waller.
  9. Mean; depressed; low; dejected; destitute of spirit. A soothsayer made Antonius believe that his genius, which was otherwise brave, was, in the presence of Octavianus, poor and cowardly. – Bacon.
  10. Lean; emaciated; as, a poor horse. The ox is poor.
  11. Small, or of a bad quality; as, a poor crop; a poor harvest.
  12. Uncomfortable; restless; ill. The patient has had a poor night.
  13. Destitute of saving grace. – Rev. iii.
  14. In general, wanting good qualities, or the qualities which render a thing valuable, excellent, proper, or sufficient for its purpose; as, a poor pen; a poor ship; a poor carriage; poor fruit; poor bread; poor wine, &c.
  15. A word of tenderness or pity; dear. Poor, little, pretty, fluttering thing. – Prior.
  16. A word of slight contempt; wretched. The poor monk never saw many of the decrees and councils he had occasion to use. – Baker.
  17. The poor, collectively, used as a noun; those who are destitute of property; the indigent; the needy; in a legal sense, those who depend on charity or maintenance by the public. I have observed the more public provisions are made for the poor, the less they provide for themselves. – Franklin. Poor in spirit, in a Scriptural sense, humble; contrite; abased in one's own sight by a sense of guilt. – Matth. v.

POOR'ER, a. [comp.]

More poor.

POOR'EST, a. [superl.]

Most poor.


A sort of fish; the torsk, the Gadus Callarias. – Ainsworth.


Somewhat ill; indisposed; not in health; a common use of the word. For three or four weeks past I have lost ground, having been poorly in health. – Th. Scott.

POOR'LY, adv.

  1. Without wealth; in indigence or want of the conveniences and comforts of life; as, to live poorly. – Sidney.
  2. With little or no success; with little growth, profit or advantage; as, wheat grows poorly on the Atlantic borders of New England; these men have succeeded poorly in business.
  3. Meanly; without spirit. Nor is their courage or their wealth so low, / That from his wars they poorly would retire. – Dryden.
  4. Without excellence or dignity. He performs poorly in elevated characters.


  1. Destitution of property; indigence; poverty; want; as, the poorness of the exchequer. No less I hate him than the gates of hell, / That poorness can force an untruth to tell. – Chapman. [In this sense, we generally use poverty.]
  2. Meanness; lowness; want of dignity; as, the poorness of language.
  3. Want of spirit; as, poorness and degeneracy of spirit – Addison.
  4. Barrenness; sterility; as, the poorness of land or soil.
  5. Unproductiveness; want of the metallic substance; as the poorness of ore.
  6. Smallness or bad quality; as, the poorness of crops or of grain.
  7. Want of value or importance; as, the poorness of a plea.
  8. Want of good qualities, or the proper qualities which constitute a thing good in its kind; as, the poorness of a ship or of cloth.
  9. Narrowness; barrenness; want of capacity. – Spectator. Poorness of spirit, in a theological sense, true humility or contrition of heart on account of sin.


Of a mean spirit; cowardly; base. – Denham.


Meanness or baseness of spirit; cowardice. – South.

POP, adv.

Suddenly; with sudden entrance or appearance.

POP, n. [D. poep. The primary sense is to drive or thrust.]

A small smart quick sound or report. – Spectator.

POP, v.i.

  1. To enter or issue forth with a quick, sudden motion. I startled at his popping upon me unexpectedly. – Addison.
  2. To dart; to start from place to place suddenly. – Swift.

POP, v.t.

To thrust or push suddenly with a quick motion. He popp'd a paper into his hand. – Milton. Didst thou never pop / Thy head into a tinman's shop? – Prior. To pop off, to thrust away; to shift off. – Locke.

POPE, n. [Gr. παπα, παππας, παππος; Low L. papa; Hindoo, bab; Turkish, baba; Bithynian, pappas; Sp. It. and Port. papa; Fr. pape; Scythian, papa. The word denotes father, and is among the first words articulated by children.]

  1. The bishop of Rome, the head of the Roman church. – Encyc.
  2. A small fish, called also a ruff. – Walton.


  1. The place, office or dignity of the pope; papal dignity. – Shak.
  2. The jurisdiction of the pope.


A game of cards. – Jenner.


An adherent of the pope.


The religion of the church of Rome, comprehending doctrines and practices. – Swift. Encyc.


A small gun or tube used by children to shoot wads and make a noise. Cheyne.

POP'IN-JAY, n. [Sp. papagayo; papa and gayo; Port. id.; It. pappagallo.]

  1. A parrot. Grew.
  2. A woodpecker, a bird with a gay head. – Peacham. The green woodpecker, with a scarlet crown, a native of Europe. – Ed. Encyc.
  3. A gay, trifling young man; a fop or coxcomb. – Shak.


Relating to the pope; taught by the pope; pertaining to the pope or the church of Rome; as, popish tenets or ceremonies.

POP-ISH-LY, adv.

In a popish manner; with a tendency to popery; as, to be popishly affected or inclined.

POP'LAR, n. [L. populus; Fr. peuplier; It. pioppo; D. populier; G. pappel, poplar and mallows; Sw. poppel-tråd; Ir. pobhlar.]

A tree of the genus Populus, of several species, as the abele, the white poplar, the black poplar, the aspen-tree, &c. – Encyc.


A stuff made of silk and worsted.

POP-LIT'E-AL, or POP-LIT'IC, a. [from L. poples, the ham.]

Pertaining to the ham or knee joint. – Med. Repos.