1. graded adjective & adjective [usu v-link ADJ] Someone who is ill is suffering from a disease or a health problem. [+ with] ⇒ In November 1941 Payne was seriously ill with pneumonia. ⇒ I was feeling ill. ⇒ If damp, musty buildings make you ill, mould is probably the cause. ⇒ Two years ago my husband was declared to be terminally ill. People who are ill in some way can be referred to as, for example, the mentally ill. ⇒ I used to work with the mentally ill. ⇒ She became a nun and cared for the terminally ill for the rest of her life. 2. countable noun [usu pl]
Difficulties and problems are sometimes referred to as ills. [formal] ⇒ His critics maintain that he's responsible for many of Algeria's ills. ⇒ ...various potions that would cure all ills.
3. uncountable noun
Ill is evil or harm. [literary] ⇒ They say they mean you no ill.
4. graded adverb & adverb [ADV with v]
Ill means the same as 'badly'. [formal] ⇒ The company's conservative instincts sit ill with competition.
5. adjective [ADJ n]usage note: The words ill and sick are very similar in meaning, but are used in slightly different ways. Ill is generally not used before a noun, and can be used in verbal expressions such as fall ill and be taken ill. He fell ill shortly before Christmas... One of the jury members was taken ill. Sick is often used before a noun. ...sick children. In British English, ill is a slightly more polite, less direct word than sick. Sick often suggests the actual physical feeling of being ill, for example nausea or vomiting. I spent the next 24 hours in bed, groaning and being sick. In American English, sick is often used where British people would say ill. Some people get hurt in accidents or get sick. You can use ill in front of some nouns to indicate that you are referring to something harmful or unpleasant. [formal] ⇒ She had brought ill luck into her family. ⇒ He says that he bears no ill feelings towards Johnson.
COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary. Copyright © Harper Collins Publishers