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(1)   Presaging ill fortune
"Ill omens"
"Ill predictions"
"My words with inauspicious thunderings shook heaven"- P.B.Shelley
"A dead and ominous silence prevailed"
"A by-election at a time highly unpropitious for the Government"
(2)   Distressing
"Ill manners"
"Of ill repute"
(3)   Resulting in suffering or adversity
"Ill effects"
"It's an ill wind that blows no good"
(4)   Indicating hostility or enmity
"You certainly did me an ill turn"
"Ill feelings"
"Ill will"
(5)   Affected by an impairment of normal physical or mental function
"Ill from the monotony of his suffering"


(6)   (`ill' is often used as a combining form) in a poor or improper or unsatisfactory manner; not well
"He was ill prepared"
"It ill befits a man to betray old friends"
"The car runs badly"
"He performed badly on the exam"
"The team played poorly"
"Ill-fitting clothes"
"An ill-conceived plan"
(7)   With difficulty or inconvenience; scarcely or hardly
"We can ill afford to buy a new car just now"
(8)   Unfavorably or with disapproval
"Tried not to speak ill of the dead"
"Thought badly of him for his lack of concern"


(9)   An often persistent bodily disorder or disease; a cause for complaining


From .


  1. Suffering from a disease.
    I've been ill with the flu for the past few days.
  2. Having an urge to vomit.
    Seeing those pictures made me ill.
  3. Bad, often connoting abuse or neglect.
    He suffered from ill treatment.
  4. Sublime, with the connotation of being so in a singularly creative way. [This sense sometimes declines in AAVE as ill, comparative iller, superlative illest.]
    Biggie Smalls is the illest / Your style is played out, like Arnold wonderin "Whatchu talkin bout, Willis?" — Biggie Smalls, The What, 1994.
  5. Extremely bad (bad enough to make one ill). Generally used indirectly with to be.
    That band was ill.

Usage notes

  • The comparative forms iller and illest are used in American English, but less than one fourth as frequently as the "more" and "most" forms.


  • (suffering from a disease): diseased, poorly (UK), sick, under the weather (informal), unwell
  • (having an urge to vomit): disgusted, nauseated, nauseous, sick, sickened
  • (bad): bad, mal-
  • (in hip-hop slang: sublime): dope
  • See also Wikisaurus:diseased


  • (suffering from a disease): fine, hale, healthy, in good health, well
  • (having an urge to vomit):
  • (bad): good
  • (in hip-hop slang: sublime): wack


  1. Badly; very incompletely. Often hyphenated to form an adjectival phrase.
    That move was ill-planned and ill-executed.
  2. Scarcely.
    • 2006, Julia Borossa (translator), Monique Canto-Sperber (quoted author), in Libération, 2002 February 2, quoted in Élisabeth Badinter (quoting author), Dead End Feminism, Polity, ISBN 9780745633800, page 40:
      Is it because this supposes an undifferentiated violence towards others and oneself that I could ill imagine in a woman?


  1. Trouble; distress; misfortune; adversity.
    Music won't solve all the world's ills, but it can make them easier to bear.
  2. Harm or injury.
    I wouldn't want you to do me ill.
  3. Evil; moral wrongfulness.
    Sociopaths do not seem to grasp the difference between good and ill.
  4. A physical ailment; an illness.
    I am incapacitated by rheumatism and other ills.
  5. Unfavorable remarks or opinions.
    Do not speak ill of the dead.
  6. PCP.