Indisposed and ill-disposed

English loves to confuse its learners with words that seem to contradict logic.

If I am indisposed, it means I am sick, ill, off-colour. I’ll probably be staying at home and possibly in bed. It is a formal and somewhat old-fashioned word used for effect or as a euphemism.


The boss is indisposed today. He had a heavy night with his golfing partners.

If you don’t want to do something or feel negative towards a person or a project, you can say you are ill-disposed. It has nothing to do with health.


Susan seems very ill-disposed to working with Marina.  Oh, didn’t you know? Marina is dating Sue’s ex.

The manager was ill-disposed towards Eric because he felt that Eric’s department was not producing enough results.


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