poor /ˈpʊr, ˈpor/
Poor a. [Compar. Poorer superl. Poorest.]
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 people.
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 expected; as: (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 cowardly.” --Bacon. (c) Of little value or worth; not good; inferior; shabby; mean; as, poor clothes; poor lodgings. “A poor vessel.” --Clarendon. (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 excuse.
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.”
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] --Dr. Prior.
Poor man's weatherglass Bot., the red-flowered pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis), which opens its blossoms only in fair weather.
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.
Poor n. Zool. A small European codfish (Gadus minutus); -- called also power cod.
adj 1: moderate to inferior in quality; "they improved the quality
from mediocre to above average"; "he would make a poor
spy" [syn: mediocre, second-rate]
2: 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" [syn: hapless, miserable, misfortunate,
pathetic, piteous, pitiable, pitiful, wretched]
3: having little money or few possessions; "deplored the gap
between rich and poor countries"; "the proverbial poor
artist living in a garret" [ant: rich]
4: characterized by or indicating lack of money; "the country
had a poor economy" [ant: rich]
5: low in degree; "expectations were poor"
6: badly supplied with desirable qualities or substances; "a
poor land"; "the area was poor in timber and coal"; "food
poor in nutritive value" [ant: rich]
7: 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" [syn: inadequate,
8: unsatisfactory; "a poor light for reading"; "poor morale"
9: yielding little by great labor; "a hardscrabble farm"; "poor
soil" [syn: hardscrabble]
The Mosaic legislation regarding the poor is specially
important. (1.) They had the right of gleaning the fields (Lev.
19:9, 10; Deut. 24:19,21).
(2.) In the sabbatical year they were to have their share of
the produce of the fields and the vineyards (Ex. 23:11; Lev.
(3.) In the year of jubilee they recovered their property
(4.) Usury was forbidden, and the pledged raiment was to be
returned before the sun went down (Ex. 22:25-27; Deut.
24:10-13). The rich were to be generous to the poor (Deut.
(5.) In the sabbatical and jubilee years the bond-servant was
to go free (Deut. 15:12-15; Lev. 25:39-42, 47-54).
(6.) Certain portions from the tithes were assigned to the
poor (Deut. 14:28, 29; 26:12, 13).
(7.) They shared in the feasts (Deut. 16:11, 14; Neh. 8:10).
(8.) Wages were to be paid at the close of each day (Lev.
In the New Testament (Luke 3:11; 14:13; Acts 6:1; Gal. 2:10;
James 2:15, 16) we have similar injunctions given with reference
to the poor. Begging was not common under the Old Testament,
while it was so in the New Testament times (Luke 16:20, 21,
etc.). But begging in the case of those who are able to work is
forbidden, and all such are enjoined to "work with their own
hands" as a Christian duty (1 Thess. 4:11; 2 Thess. 3:7-13; Eph.
4:28). This word is used figuratively in Matt. 5:3; Luke 6:20; 2
Cor. 8:9; Rev. 3:17.