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  • exiguous
  • audio pronunciation
  • \ig-ZIG-yuh-wus\
  • DEFINITION

adjective

: excessively scanty : inadequate
  • EXAMPLES

New computer equipment would be prohibitively expensive, given the rural school's exiguous resources.

"The president got his tax increases; not only on the wealthy but also by raising the payroll tax that most affects ordinary Americans. Meaningful spending cuts, however, were so exiguous that they can't count for anything more than window dressing." — From a column by Phil Guarnieri in the New Hyde Park Illustrated News (New Hyde Park, New York), March 8, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?

"Exiguous" is so expansive sounding that you might expect it to mean "extensive" instead of "meager." Even a scanty glimpse at the word's etymology will disabuse you of that notion, however. "Exiguous" derives from the Latin "exiguus," which has the same basic meaning as the modern English term. "Exiguus," in turn, derives from the Latin verb "exigere," which is variously translated as "to demand," "to drive out," or "to weigh or measure." The idea of weighing or measuring so precisely as to be parsimonious or petty gave "exiguous" its present sense of inadequacy. Just so we aren't accused of being skimpy with the details, we should also mention that "exigere" is the parent term underlying other English words including "exact" and "exigent."

Name That Synonym: Fill in the blanks to create a synonym of "exiguous": s_a_s_. The answer is …

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