Definition of sickly in English:


Line breaks: sick¦ly
Pronunciation: /ˈsɪkli

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, chronically ill, often ill, always ill; delicate, frail, weak, feeble, puny
  • 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 or climate) causing or characterized by unhealthiness: a 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.



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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