Definition of sickly in English:


Syllabification: sick·ly
Pronunciation: /ˈsiklē

adjective (sicklier, sickliest)

  • 1Often ill; in poor health: she was a thin, sickly child
    More example sentences
    • The predator weeds out the weak and the sickly (those incapable of participation).
    • In history books, one can find descriptions of this Bulgarian king as ‘weak, sickly, meek and a poor statesman’.
    • King was a sickly child, once bedridden for a year, and at the age of four he one day returned home silently after playing with a friend and crawled into bed.
    unhealthy, in poor health, delicate, frail, weak
  • 1.1(Of a person’s complexion or expression) indicative of poor health: his usual sickly pallor
    More example sentences
    • If there was anything to be salvaged from the situation, it might've been said to have been worth it for the sickly expression on Rupert's face.
    • Not only that, but his formerly vibrant face was now marred by a sickly pallor and shadows under his eyes.
    • Her sun baked skin had deteriorated to a grey, sickly pallor and her eyes had lost its bright sparkle.
  • 1.2 literary (Of a place, climate, or time) causing or characterized by unhealthiness: a deep sickly vaporous swamp
    More example sentences
    • The only sort of eye to be found in Dunham's paintings puts in an appearance in Beautiful Dirt Valley: the disembodied eye of heaven hovering in a sickly sky.
    • Aaron went back to his sickly field and farmhouse.
    • The yellow street lights caused the world to glow sickly as he moved through the downtown South District.
  • 2(Of a flavor, smell, color, or light) so unpleasant as to induce discomfort or nausea: the walls were painted a sickly green she liked her coffee sweet and sickly
    More example sentences
    • The walls were the same sickly colour, the smell was the same of dense human aromas, and my feelings of determination and acceptance were one and the same.
    • I entered the school and was met by the sweet, sickly smell of flowers and the dead.
    • The atmosphere seemed stifling, the sweet, sickly smell in the air was unbearable.
    insipid, pale, light, light-colored, washed out, faded
  • 2.1Excessively sentimental or mawkish: a sickly fable of delicate young lovers
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    • Your Silent Nights and Joy to the Worlds manage to be special and festive without first being coated with a cubic kilometre of sickly sentimentality.
    • Those with an aversion to sickly sentiment should look away now.
    • It displays the essence of Chopin's music that surely Fokine desired and rescues it from the sickly sentiment and yards of tulle that Les Sylphides usually heralds.



More example sentences
  • What is inherited is not the sickness but sickliness: the lack of strength to resist the danger of infections, etc., the broken resistance; morally speaking, resignation and meekness in face of the enemy.
  • Loving my children seemed to solve any problem they had - even discovering Kyle had cystic fibrosis at the age of seven - this was the reason for his low weight and sickliness as a baby.
  • It was well worth venturing out in spite of my lingering sickliness.


late Middle English: probably suggested by Old Norse sjúkligr.

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