The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Poor \Poor\, a. [Compar. Poorer (?; 254); superl. Poorest.]
[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.]
1. Destitute of property; wanting in material riches or
goods; needy; indigent.
Note: 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 who are not rich; as, a poor man or woman; poor
2. (Law) So completely destitute of property as to be
entitled to maintenance from the public.
3. Hence, in very various applications: Destitute of such
qualities as are desirable, or might naturally be
(a) Wanting in fat, plumpness, or fleshiness; lean;
emaciated; meager; as, a poor horse, ox, dog, etc.
"Seven other kine came up after them, poor and very
ill-favored and lean-fleshed." --Gen. xli. 19.
(b) Wanting in strength or vigor; feeble; dejected; as,
poor health; poor spirits. "His genius . . . poor and
(c) Of little value or worth; not good; inferior; shabby;
mean; as, poor clothes; poor lodgings. "A poor
(d) Destitute of fertility; exhausted; barren; sterile; --
said of land; as, poor soil.
(e) Destitute of beauty, fitness, or merit; as, a poor
discourse; a poor picture.
(f) Without prosperous conditions or good results;
unfavorable; unfortunate; unconformable; as, a poor
business; the sick man had a poor night.
(g) Inadequate; insufficient; insignificant; as, a poor
That I have wronged no man will be a poor plea
or apology at the last day. --Calamy.
4. 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. --Shak.
Poor, little, pretty, fluttering thing. --Prior.
5. Free from self-assertion; not proud or arrogant; meek.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit." --Matt. v. 3.
Poor law, a law providing for, or regulating, the relief or
support of the poor.
Poor man's treacle (Bot.), garlic; -- so called because it
was thought to be an antidote to animal poison. [Eng]
Poor man's weatherglass (Bot.), the red-flowered pimpernel
(Anagallis arvensis), which opens its blossoms only in
Poor rate, an assessment or tax, as in an English parish,
for the relief or support of the poor.
Poor soldier (Zool.), the friar bird.
The poor, 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.