meager

adjective
mea·​ger | \ˈmē-gər \
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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Hiring is starting to recover, but most jobs are part-time or seasonal, for meager pay. WSJ, "Many Greeks Struggle to Keep Their Heads Above Water as Bailout Ends," 20 Aug. 2018 The betrayal encouraged contributors to come forward with horror stories about being forced to write for BGN gratis, often for weeks, before getting paid laughably meager rates and barely receiving any editing or feedback on their efforts. Devon Maloney, The Verge, "How the first Wakandacon escaped the fan convention curse," 13 Aug. 2018 McDaniel’s relatively meager showing was the end of a long fight between him and the Republican establishment in the state. Dylan Scott, Vox, "The Mississippi Senate runoff, Dems’ last chance for one more 2018 upset, explained," 20 Nov. 2018 Two powerful trends are at work: a labor shortage amid the tightest job market in almost five decades, and the propensity for longer-living Americans to keep working — even part-time — to supplement often-meager retirement savings. Leslie Patton, The Seattle Times, "Senior citizens are replacing teenagers as fast-food workers," 13 Nov. 2018 As a result, the benefits of regulations that reduce greenhouse gas emissions look pretty meager. Cass R. Sunstein, WSJ, "A Quiet Revolution Has Given the U.S. Smarter Regulations," 21 Oct. 2018 The financial disclosure forms for the years 2012 through 2017 also show relatively meager assets to go along with Kavanaugh's debt load. Mike James And, USA TODAY, "Brett Kavanaugh racked up huge credit card debt buying Washington Nationals tickets, report says," 11 July 2018 The irreverent, cigarette-smoking Maggie (Jennie Israel) occupies herself as the family housekeeper and cook, meager though most meals are. Don Aucoin, BostonGlobe.com, "A dance of regret in Gloucester Stage’s ‘Lughnasa’," 20 June 2018 His law firm was abruptly forced into bankruptcy by a Florida man who claimed he was owed the relatively meager sum of $28,700. Maeve Reston, CNN, "Exclusive: How a 'nobody' ex-con pushed Avenatti law firm into bankruptcy," 1 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of meager

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for meager

Middle English megre, from Anglo-French megre, meigre, from Latin macr-, macer lean; akin to Old English mæger lean, Greek makros long

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about meager

Statistics for meager

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for meager

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on meager

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with meager

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for meager

Spanish Central: Translation of meager

Nglish: Translation of meager for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of meager for Arabic Speakers

Comments on meager

What made you want to look up meager? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to make faulty or ineffective

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!