Definition of exiguous
: excessively scanty : inadequate wrest an exiguous existence from the land exiguous evidence
exiguous was our Word of the Day on 05/04/2013. Hear the podcast!
Examples of exiguous in a sentence
computer equipment that would be prohibitively expensive, given the rural school's exiguous resources
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."
Origin and Etymology of exiguous
Latin exiguus, from exigere
First Known Use: 1630
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