ill Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “ill” in the English Dictionary

"ill" in British English

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uk   /ɪl/  us   /ɪl/
  • ill adjective (NOT WELL)

A2 [not usually before noun] not ​feeling well, or ​suffering from a ​disease: I felt ill so I went ​home. He's been ill withmeningitis. Sophia fell ill/was taken ill (= ​became ill) while on ​holiday. He is critically (= very ​badly) ill in ​hospital.

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uk   /ɪl/  us   /ɪl/
literary badly: He ​treated her very ill.
speak ill of sb formal or old-fashioned
to say ​unkind things about someone: I ​realize one shouldn't ​speak ill of the ​dead.
augur/bode ill formal or old-fashioned
to be a ​sign of ​bad things in the ​future: This ​weatherbodes ill for the ​gardenpartytonight.
can ill afford (to do sth) formal or old-fashioned
If you can ill ​afford to do something, it will ​causeproblems for you if you do it: We can ill ​afford to ​lose another ​member of ​staff.


uk   /ɪl/  us   /ɪl/


uk   /ɪl-/  us   /ɪl-/
in a way that is ​bad or not ​suitable: ill-prepared an ill-judged ​remark


uk   /aɪl/  us   /aɪl/
short form of I shall or I will: I'll be there at 6.00.
(Definition of ill from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"ill" in American English

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 us   /ɪl/
  • ill adjective (NOT HEALTHY)

(comparative worse, superlative worst) having a ​disease or ​feeling as if ​yourbody or ​mind has been harmed by not being ​able to ​work as it should: I ​felt ill, so I went ​home.
  • ill adjective (BAD)

[not gradable] bad: Did you ​experience any ill ​effects from the ​treatment?

illadverb [not gradable]

 us   /ɪl/
badly, with ​greatdifficulty, or ​certainly not: They could ill ​afford to ​lose all that ​money.

illnoun [C usually plural]

 us   /ɪl/
a ​problem or ​difficulty: We ​thought we could ​solve all the community's ills and we have ​failed.


 us   /ɑɪl/
contraction of I will or I shall: I’ll ​want to ​seeyourtaxrecords. I’ll be on ​vacation next ​week.
(Definition of ill from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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