definition of ill by The Free Dictionary



adj. worse (wûrs), worst (wûrst)

1. Not healthy; sick: I began to feel ill last week.

2. Not normal; unsound: an ill condition of body and mind.

3. Resulting in suffering; harmful or distressing: the ill effects of a misconceived policy.


a. Resulting from or suggestive of evil intentions: ill deeds committed out of spite.

b. Ascribing an objectionable quality: holds an ill view of that political group.

c. Hostile or unfriendly: ill feeling between rivals.

d. Harmful; pernicious: the ill effects of a misconceived policy.

5. Not favorable; unpropitious: ill predictions.

6. Not measuring up to recognized standards of excellence, as of behavior or conduct: ill manners.

7. Slang Excellent; outstanding: Your new car is really ill!

adv. worse, worst

1. In a bad, inadequate, or improper way. Often used in combination: My words were ill-chosen.

2. In an unfavorable way; unpropitiously: a statistic that bodes ill for job growth.

3. Scarcely or with difficulty: We can ill afford another mistake.


1. Evil, wrongdoing, or harm: the ill that befell the townspeople.

2. Something that causes suffering; trouble: the social ills of urban life.

3. Something that reflects in an unfavorable way on one: Please don’t speak ill of me when I’m gone.

4. (used with a pl. verb) Sick people considered as a group. Often used with the.


ill at ease

Anxious or unsure; uneasy: The stranger made me feel ill at ease.

[Middle English, from Old Norse īllr, bad.]

American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.



adj, worse or worst

1. (usually postpositive) not in good health; sick

2. characterized by or intending evil, harm, etc; hostile: ill deeds.

3. causing or resulting in pain, harm, adversity, etc: ill effects.

4. ascribing or imputing evil to something referred to: ill repute.

5. promising an unfavourable outcome; unpropitious: an ill omen.

6. harsh; lacking kindness: ill will.

7. not up to an acceptable standard; faulty: ill manners.

8. ill at ease unable to relax; uncomfortable


9. evil or harm: to wish a person ill.

10. a mild disease

11. misfortune; trouble


12. badly: the title ill befits him.

13. with difficulty; hardly: he can ill afford the money.

14. not rightly: she ill deserves such good fortune.

[C11 (in the sense: evil): from Old Norse illr bad]

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



adj. worse, worst,
n., adv. adj.

1. of unsound physical or mental health; unwell; sick.

2. objectionable; faulty: ill manners.

3. hostile; unkindly: ill feeling.

4. evil; wicked: of ill repute.

5. unfavorable; adverse: ill fortune.

6. of inferior worth or ability.


7. an unfavorable opinion or statement: I can speak no ill of her.

8. harm or injury: His remarks did much ill.

9. trouble; misfortune: Many ills befell him.

10. evil: the difference between good and ill.

11. sickness; disease.


12. unsatisfactorily; poorly: It ill befits a man to betray old friends.

13. in a hostile or unfriendly manner.

14. unfavorably; unfortunately.

15. with displeasure or offense.

16. faultily; improperly.

17. with difficulty or inconvenience: an expense we can ill afford.


ill at ease, uncomfortable; uneasy.

[1150–1200; < Old Norse illr ill, bad]

syn: ill, sick mean being in bad health, not being well. ill is the more formal word. In the U.S. the two words are used practically interchangeably except that sick is always used when the word modifies the following noun: He looks sick (ill); a sick person. In England, sick is not interchangeable with ill, but usu. has the connotation of nauseous: She got sick and threw up. sick, however, is used before nouns just as in the U.S.: a sick man.



contraction of I will.




1. illustrated.

2. illustration.

3. illustrator.

Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


– sick

1. “” and “”

Ill and sick are both used for saying that someone has a disease or some other problem with their health. You can use either ill or sick after a linking verb.

Manjit is ill and can’t come to school.

Your uncle is very sick.

You usually use sick, rather than “”, in front of a noun.

She was at home looking after her sick baby.

However, you often use ill in front of a noun when you are also using an adverb such as seriously, chronically, or terminally.

This ward is for terminally ill patients.

Be Careful!
The usual comparative form of ill is worse.

The next day I felt worse.

2. ‘be sick’

To be sick means to bring up food from your stomach.

Cristina ate so much that she was sick.

Be Careful!
Don’t use “” or “” to say that someone has received an injury. Say that they are injured or hurt.

Two people were injured and taken to hospital after the car crash.

Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012

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