'Poor' vs 'Pore' vs 'Pour' vs 'Por': What's the Difference?

By Katie Moore, updated on June 19, 2023

‘Poor’ vs ‘Pore’ vs ‘Pour’ vs ‘Por’: What’s the Difference? The beauty of the English language really shines through in sets of homophones like these. How are we supposed to know the difference when words sound the same, are spelled differently, and can appear in a variety of contexts? That’s why we’re here to help with this article. 

In a hurry? Here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll learn: 

  • ‘Poor’ typically refers to a state of being low in income or quality
  • ‘Pore’ refers to an opening or hole in the skin of an organism
  • ‘Pour’ refers to an action of streaming liquid
  • ‘Por’ is a Spanish word meaning ‘by’ but can also be an English abbreviation

What’s the Difference Between ‘Poor’ vs ‘Pore’ vs ‘Poor’ vs ‘Por’? 

To start off easy, let’s clarify that one of these words is not, in fact, a word in English. ‘Por’ is the Spanish word for “by” or “for,” often seen in common phrases such as ‘por favor’ meaning “please.” The word is still very important, and we will discuss it more later, but for now, let’s turn to our English words. 

A simple way to break down our remaining similar words is to remember that they each belong to a different part of speech. 

  • ‘Poor’ is an adjective or description that characterizes the monetary status or quality of someone or something
  • ‘Pore’ is a noun or thing that describes a hole on the surface of an organism.
  • ‘Pour’ is a verb or action that refers to a stream of something, typically exiting a container or body of water.

When trying to use these homophones in a sentence, you can narrow down which to use when depending on your context, so be sure to know which part of speech you’re using. And now that you have a bit of a breakdown on this let’s take a closer look at each of our new words. 

Definition of ‘Poor’: What Does it Mean? 

Oxford Languages defines ‘Poor’ as an adjective meaning: 

  • Lacking sufficient money to live at a standard considered comfortable or normal in society

It can also mean: 

  • Worse than is usual, expected, or desirable; of a low or inferior standard or quality
  • Deficient or lacking in
  • (of a person) considered to be deserving of pity or sympathy 

Synonyms of ‘Poor’

  • Impoverished
  • Destitute
  • Underprivileged
  • Meager
  • Inferior
  • Miserable
  • Shoddy
  • Weak
  • penniless

Antonyms of ‘Poor’

  • Rich
  • Wealthy
  • Prosperous
  • Extraordinary
  • Able
  • Superior
  • Lucky 
  • Affluent

Phrases with ‘Poor’

  • Poor little girl 
  • You poor thing
  • In poor taste
  • For richer or poorer
  • Of poor quality
  • Dirt poor 

Definition of ‘Pore’: What Does it Mean? 

There are actually a few different meanings of ‘Pore’ that fall under the same spelling, but those will be clarified here. The most common use is what we have already touched on above, but here is a more in-depth look at it. 

Oxford Languages defines ‘Pore’ as a noun meaning: 

  • A minute opening in a surface, especially the skin or integument of an organism, through which gasses, liquids, or microscopic particles can pass

Oxford Languages defines the second meaning of ‘Pore’ as a verb meaning: 

  • Be absorbed in the reading or study of, as in ‘to pore over a book,’ or go over carefully

Synonyms of ‘Pore’

  • Opening
  • Orifice
  • Outlet
  • Vesicle
  • Foramen
  • Brood
  • Peruse
  • Examine
  • Muse

Antonyms of ‘Pore’

  • Closure 
  • Ignore
  • Disbelieve

Phrases with ‘Pore’

  • Clear your pores
  • Pore over a book
  • Plants breathe with pores
  • Sweat from every pore

Definition of ‘Pour’: What Does it Mean?

Oxford Languages defines ‘Pour’ as a verb meaning: 

  • Flow rapidly in a steady stream, cause a liquid to steadily flow from a container, and prepare and serve (a drink)

It can also mean: 

  • Come or go in a steady stream and in large numbers
  • (of rain) fall heavily

Synonyms of ‘Pour’

  • Stream
  • Flow
  • Cascade
  • Gush
  • Spill
  • Flood
  • Shower
  • Teem

Antonyms of ‘Pour’

  • Trickle
  • Halt
  • Repress
  • Cease
  • Dribble
  • Sprinkle

Phrases with ‘Pour’ 

  • Pouring rain
  • Pour it out
  • Pour out love
  • Pour me some coffee

Definition of ‘Por’: What Does it Mean? 

Now to cover our non-English words. As a reminder, ‘Por’ can also be an acronym in English, but that is not used very frequently, at least when compared to the other spellings mentioned above. 

According to Spanish Dictionary, ‘Por’ can have many meanings, including: 

  • ‘By’ - used to indicate the place
  • ‘Because of’ - used to indicate the cause
  • ‘For’ - used to indicate a period of time
  • ‘Per’ - meaning ‘for each.’
  • ‘For’ - in place of 

Phrases Using ‘Por’

  • Por favor - Please
  • Por ciento - Percent
  • Por ejemplo - For example

As an acronym, P.O.R. stands for ‘Plan of Record’ or ‘Per Order Request,’ which is often used in engineering to indicate the intended and agreed-upon plan for how a feature of a machine will behave. 

  • For example, the ‘P.O.R.’ for Siri is to be a voice-activated tech assistant.  

Pronunciations: How to Pronounce ‘Poor’ vs ‘Pore’ vs ‘Pour’ vs ‘Por’

Although this can contribute to the confusion, the four new words you’ve learned today are all pronounced the same — this is why context is key here. When speaking or giving a presentation, be sure you are using the words in the right manner so people can follow your premise clearly.

Here is how to pronounce ‘Poor’ vs ‘Pore’ vs ‘Pour’ vs ‘Por: 

Here is the phonetic spelling of ‘Poor,’ ‘Pore,’ ‘Pour,’ and ‘Por’: 

  • Poh-r (with a long ‘O’ as in ‘shore’)

Note that depending on where you are in the United States or in the world, these words will sound slightly different because of people’s accents. This is typically a regional distinction and should not affect your learning, but it is always something to look out for as you travel and expand your understanding of English. 

How to Use ‘Poor’ vs ‘Pore’ vs ‘Pour’ vs ‘Por’ in a Sentence

You’ve seen some example phrases and idioms, but now let’s take a look at some example sentences with each of our new words. Again remember, context is everything!


  • Most people in that city are poor and live below the poverty line. 
  • That poor girl broke her arm while playing on the playground. 
  • Spending all your money on that Ferrari was a poor decision. 


  • Establishing a consistent skin-care routine helps keep your pores clear. 
  • The explorers pored over the ancient treasure map in awe. 
  • During the hundred-degree heatwave, sweat constantly dripped from his pores. 


  • She poured syrup all over her pancakes, almost drowning them in liquid. 
  • The rain began to pour so heavily that it sounded like a stampede on the roof.
  • The singer poured their soul out during a dramatic love ballad. 


  • Por la mañana, como desayuno. // In the morning I eat breakfast. 
  • Gracias por la invitación. // Thank you for the invitation. 
  • Microsoft’s P.O.R. for its new software has yet to be determined. 

Final Advice on ‘Poor’ vs ‘Pore’ vs ‘Pour’ vs ‘Por’

We covered a lot in this article and even went through a mini Spanish lesson! You should be proud of all the new knowledge you’ve acquired, and make sure to keep putting these new words to use. Homophones can be tricky by nature because they all sound the same, but if you remember that context is key, you’ll keep your vocabulary straight. 

If you need a short recap: 

  • Remember that ‘Poor’ typically refers to a state of being that is either lacking in money or superior quality, 
  • ‘Pore’ is usually a noun that means ‘hole’ found on the body of an organism, but it can also mean ‘to examine something carefully.’ 
  • Meanwhile, ‘Pour’ is the action word that usually describes a stream of liquid, 
  • And ‘Por’ is a Spanish word meaning ‘by,’ but it can also be the acronym for ‘Plan of Record.’

And there you have it, an arsenal of homophones you can now identify and add to your academic writing assignments and presentations. Homophones, in particular, can be stressful, and we want to help you identify them, so be sure to check out some more in our other confusing word articles.

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Written By:
Katie Moore
Katie is a recent graduate of Occidental College where she worked as a writer and editor for the school paper while studying linguistics and journalism. She loves helping others find their voice in writing and making their work the strongest it can be. Katie also loves learning and speaking other languages and wants to help make writing accessible for everyone.

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