meager

adjective
mea·​ger | \ ˈmē-gər How to pronounce meager (audio) \
variants: or meagre

Definition of meager

1 : having little flesh : thin meager were his looks, sharp misery had worn him to the bones— William Shakespeare
2a : lacking desirable qualities (such as richness or strength) leading a meager life
b : deficient in quality or quantity a meager diet

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Other Words from meager

meagerly adverb
meagerness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for meager

meager, scanty, scant, skimpy, spare, sparse mean falling short of what is normal, necessary, or desirable. meager implies the absence of elements, qualities, or numbers necessary to a thing's richness, substance, or potency. a meager portion of meat scanty stresses insufficiency in amount, quantity, or extent. supplies too scanty to last the winter scant suggests a falling short of what is desired or desirable rather than of what is essential. in January the daylight hours are scant skimpy usually suggests niggardliness or penury as the cause of the deficiency. tacky housing developments on skimpy lots spare may suggest a slight falling short of adequacy or merely an absence of superfluity. a spare, concise style of writing sparse implies a thin scattering of units. a sparse population

Examples of meager in a Sentence

Every morning he eats a meager breakfast of toast and coffee. We'll have to do the best we can with this year's meager harvest. She came to this country with a fairly meager English vocabulary, but she is learning more words every day. They suffered through several meager years at the beginning of their marriage. Although she's now rich and famous, she remembers her meager beginnings as a child from a poor family.
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Recent Examples on the Web In 17 games thus far, Bjork has landed a meager 10 shots on net. Kevin Paul Dupont, BostonGlobe.com, "Bruins look to move on vs. Rangers after lopsided loss to Islanders," 26 Feb. 2021 During the storm, many probably burned through their meager energy reserves and died of exhaustion. John Flesher And Jamie Stengle, Chron, "Deer, antelope and bats among wildlife pummeled during Southern freeze," 24 Feb. 2021 Before the pandemic, these companies produced meager amounts for use in small clinical trials, laboratory experiments or in one licensed drug, patisiran, which is used to treat a rare genetic disease in perhaps a few thousand people worldwide. Rachana Pradhan, Fortune, "With billions spent and ‘wartime’ declared, why are vaccines still in short supply?," 23 Feb. 2021 At the same time, those homes, offices, and hospitals all claimed whatever meager gas was still available. Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, "Texas’s Power Grid Makes It Unfree," 21 Feb. 2021 The supporting cast shot a meager 12 for 35 from the field, begging questions of whether USC might be able to weather an off night from either of its stars in March. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, "USC beaten on the boards as seven-game win streak ends with loss to Arizona," 20 Feb. 2021 There are no words to adequately address your pain, but here is my meager attempt. Annie Lane, oregonlive, "Dear Annie: Grief is a natural reaction to traumatic, life-altering events," 20 Feb. 2021 His material might seem meager to a casual or less knowledgeable eye. Colin Thubron, The New York Review of Books, "Cartographers of Stone and Air," 17 Nov. 2020 The financial compensation for donating in some countries is fairly meager, but some donors have forged a lifestyle by agreeing to a nominal fee in exchange for travel costs to meet recipients in person. New York Times, "The Case of the Serial Sperm Donor," 1 Feb. 2021

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

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First Known Use of meager

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for meager

Middle English megre "thin, having little flesh from lack of food," borrowed from Anglo-French megre, maigre, going back to Latin macr-, macer "thin, lean, of little substance," going back to Indo-European *mh2ḱ-ro- "long, thin," whence also Germanic *magra- "lean" (whence Old English mæger "lean," Old High German magar, Old Norse magr), Greek makrós "long, tall, high, large"; derivative in *-ro-, adjective suffix, of a base *meh2ḱ-, *mh2ḱ- seen also in Latin maciēs "bodily thinness, wasting," Greek mêkos "length," mḗkistos "longest, highest," Avestan masah- "length, greatness," masišta- "highest," Hittite maklant- "thin, slim (of animals)"

Note: Alternatively from Indo-European *maḱ- if a is accepted as a vowel, as the laryngeal h2 is invoked solely to produce the right vocalism.

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Time Traveler for meager

Time Traveler

The first known use of meager was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Meager.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meager. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for meager

meager

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of meager

: very small or too small in amount
: not having enough of something (such as money or food) for comfort or happiness

meager

adjective
mea·​ger
variants: or meagre \ ˈmē-​gər \

Kids Definition of meager

1 : not enough in quality or amount a meager income
2 : having little flesh : thin

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Comments on meager

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