Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “ill”

ill

adverb     /ɪl/ formal
badly: Many of the nurses were ill prepared to deal with such badly burned patients.Serious and unpleasantNot attractive to look atInformal words for bad
can ill afford (to do) sth If you can ill afford to do something, it is likely to make things difficult for you if you do it: This is a match United can ill afford to lose.Impossible and improbable
speak ill of sb formal to say bad things about someoneUnkind, cruel and unfeelingViolent or aggressiveTreating people or animals badlyInsults and abuse
(Definition of ill adverb from the Cambridge Learner's Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Difficult things and people, but you might be interested in these topics from the Easy and difficult topic area:

Definitions of “ill” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

closeness

the quality of knowing someone very well, liking them a lot, and wanting to spend a lot of time together

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More