Definition of “ill” - 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 with meningitis.
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 weather bodes ill for the garden party tonight.
can ill afford (to do sth) formal or old-fashioned

If you can ill afford to do something, it will cause problems for you if you do it:

We can ill afford to lose another member of staff.


uk /ɪl/ us /ɪl/


uk /ɪl-/ us /ɪl-/


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 your body 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?


ill adverb [ not gradable ] (BADLY)

badly, with great difficulty, or certainly not:

They could ill afford to lose all that money.

ill noun [ C usually plural ] (PROBLEM)

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 see your tax records.
I’ll be on vacation next week.

(Definition of “ill” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)