ex·​ig·​u·​ous | \ ig-ˈzi-gyə-wəs How to pronounce exiguous (audio) \

Definition of exiguous

: excessively scanty : inadequate wrest an exiguous existence from the land exiguous evidence

Other Words from exiguous

exiguously adverb
exiguousness noun

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.

Examples of exiguous in a Sentence

computer equipment that would be prohibitively expensive, given the rural school's exiguous resources
Recent Examples on the Web Their taste is undeveloped or chronically exiguous. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 2 Apr. 2022

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exiguous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of exiguous

1630, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for exiguous

Latin exiguus, from exigere

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The first known use of exiguous was in 1630

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Last Updated

10 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Exiguous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exiguous. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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