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.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.