Definition of ill in English:


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  • 2Only with difficulty; hardly: she could ill afford the cost of new curtains
    More example sentences
    • This loss of time could be ill afforded at a time when the technical preparations for Mike were at a critical stage.
    • He stressed that some of the goods produced locally lacked quality and were produced at a comparatively higher cost making such goods ill equipped to compete on the regional market.
    • Culpeper's deepest desire was to make herbal medicine available to everyone, especially the poor who could ill afford to visit a physician.
    barely, scarcely, hardly, just, only just, just possibly, narrowly; with difficulty, only with effort
    British informal at a push


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ill at ease

Uncomfortable or embarrassed.
More example sentences
  • Why did he seem so ill at ease, so uncomfortable with the role he had to play?
  • She had become very uncomfortable and ill at ease when visiting her parents and suffered chronic tension.
  • It made him uncomfortable and ill at ease, and he felt she was trying to keep him there in the pilothouse.
awkward, uneasy, uncomfortable, self-conscious, out of place, unnatural, inhibited, gauche, strained; embarrassed, shy, bashful, blushing, retiring, shrinking; unsure, uncertain, unsettled, hesitant, faltering; restless, restive, fidgety, unrelaxed, disquieted, disturbed, discomfited, troubled, worried, anxious, on edge, edgy, nervous, tense, on tenterhooks; apprehensive, distrustful; British nervy
informal fazed, discombobulated, twitchy, on pins and needles, jittery
North American informal antsy
rare unquiet

speak (or think) ill of

Say (or think) something critical about (someone).
More example sentences
  • He was a handsome man, too handsome to be thought ill of by anyone, his aloof attitude did only add attractions to his charm.
  • Brown is unusual in contemporary poetry for her willingness to be thought ill of.
  • Unless one thinks ill of the woman he married, one can hardly regard this as ‘earned.’
denigrate, disparage, cast aspersions on, criticize, be critical of, speak badly of, speak of with disfavour, be unkind about, be malicious about, be spiteful towards, blacken the name of, blacken the character of, besmirch, run down, insult, abuse, attack, slight, revile, malign, vilify; North American slur
informal bad-mouth, slate, bitch about, do a hatchet job on, pull to pieces, sling mud at, throw mud at, drag (someone's name) through the mud
British informal rubbish, slag off, have a go at, have a pop at
rare asperse, derogate, vilipend, vituperate


Middle English (in the senses 'wicked', 'malevolent', 'harmful', and 'difficult'): from Old Norse illr 'evil, difficult', of unknown origin.

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