1. Destitute of property; wanting in material riches or goods; needy; indigent.
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. 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:
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." .
Wanting in strength or vigor; feeble; dejected; as, poor health; poor spirits. "His genius . . . Poor and cowardly." .
Of little value or worth; not good; inferior; shabby; mean; as, poor clothes; poor lodgings. "A poor vessel." .
Destitute of fertility; exhausted; barren; sterile; said of land; as, poor soil.
Destitute of beauty, fitness, or merit; as, a poor discourse; a poor picture.
Without prosperous conditions or good results; unfavorable; unfortunate; unconformable; as, a poor business; the sick man had a poor night.
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.
<botany> Poor man's treacle, 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." .
Origin: 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.
<zoology> A small European codfish (Gadus minutus).
Synonyms: power cod.
(01 Mar 1998)