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. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

2. (Law) So completely destitute of property as to be entitled to maintenance from the public. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

That I have wronged no man will be a poor plea or apology at the last day. --Calamy. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

And for mine own poor part, Look you, I'll go pray. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

Poor, little, pretty, fluttering thing. --Prior. [1913 Webster]

5. Free from self-assertion; not proud or arrogant; meek. ``Blessed are the poor in spirit.'' --Matt. v. 3. [1913 Webster]

{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} (Zo["o]l.), 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. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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