poor relation


Also found in: Dictionary.

poor relation

A less desirable substitute for the genuine item. The cheap motorcycle jacket I bought is nice, but it is a poor relation of actual leather.
See also: poor, relation

poor relation

An inferior member of a group, as in Many regard Turkey as the poor relation in the European alliance. This expression, first recorded in 1720 for a family member in humble circumstances, began to be used figuratively in the mid-1900s.
See also: poor, relation

a poor relation

If you describe one thing as a poor relation of another, you mean that it is similar in some ways but not as good or as popular. Watercolour still seems somehow to be the poor relation of oil painting. Grapes for the table have become the poor relation of those used by the wine trade.
See also: poor, relation

poor relation

a person or thing that is considered inferior or subordinate to others of the same type or group.
1997 Independent on Sunday Many downhillers think of Nordic skiing as a poor relation—fit only for wimps who can't take speed.
See also: poor, relation

a poor reˈlation

somebody/something with less importance, respect or power than others: At the peace conference, our country was treated very much as the poor relation.
See also: poor, relation
References in classic literature ?
It is a melancholy truth that even great men have their poor relations.
I need no blessings, but - but -' She stamped her foot at the poor relation.
Best of all, when the body was cleared, she cut out from the mass of poor relations that crowded the back of the buildings - house-hold dogs, we name them - a cousin's widow, skilled in what Europeans, who know nothing about it, call massage.
He is a kind, excellent, independent-spirited, fine-hearted, hospitable, liberal man (enthusiastic shouts from the poor relations, at all the adjectives; and especially at the two last).
The uninvited guest Free and easy manners Salutary jokes A prodigal son Exit of the glutton A sudden change in fortune Danger of a visit to poor relations Plucking of a prosperous man A vagabond toilet A substitute for the very fine horse Hard travelling The uninvited guest and the patriarchal colt A beggar on horseback A catastrophe Exit of the merry vagabond
There were no foreclosures of mortgages, no protested notes, no bills payable, no debts of honour in Typee; no unreasonable tailors and shoemakers perversely bent on being paid; no duns of any description and battery attorneys, to foment discord, backing their clients up to a quarrel, and then knocking their heads together; no poor relations, everlastingly occupying the spare bed-chamber, and diminishing the elbow room at the family table; no destitute widows with their children starving on the cold charities of the world; no beggars; no debtors' prisons; no proud and hard-hearted nabobs in Typee; or to sum up all in one word--no Money
All his poor relations, to whom he would never speak, except with a sneer, shot up into the sky like wonderful golden flowers with blossoms of fire.
Some of the higher scholars boarded in the Doctor's house, and through them I learned, at second hand, some particulars of the Doctor's history - as, how he had not yet been married twelve months to the beautiful young lady I had seen in the study, whom he had married for love; for she had not a sixpence, and had a world of poor relations (so our fellows said) ready to swarm the Doctor out of house and home.
If the charge remains in England, it would leave this region's main hub, Newcastle Airport, a poor relation.
Imagine the upshot over the past decade, over which time the Midlands has always been the poor relation.
SIR - Cathy Owens article 'No poor relation, Lidl is Britain's' best grocer' Western Mail, June 12) was interesting inasmuch as it highlighted Lidl's immense progress since its launch in the UK in 1994.
Mental health remains the poor relation of the NHS and, unforgivably, children's mental health is the poor relation of the poor relation - the easiest target for cuts.
Little White Lies by Lesley Lokko This book follows the lives of three best friends from school - Annick, who has a mysterious past, Rebecca, from old money, and Tash, who always feels the poor relation and has a steely determination to succeed.
Once again the south of the city appears to be the poor relation when it comes to the council's priorities.