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 response to the building offensive against it, the company in April cut back on an already meager effort to communicate with Congress and federal agencies. Stu Woo, WSJ, "Huawei’s New Playbook in Washington: Drop PR and Hire Lawyers," 17 Dec. 2018 The upset occurred because Virginia mustered only a meager offensive effort, and the Cavaliers defense, ranked first nationally, could not get enough stops against the smaller but athletic Retrievers. Blair Kerkhoff, kansascity, "UMBC Retrievers shock the world, become first 16 seed to beat a No. 1 (sorry Virginia) | The Kansas City Star," 16 Mar. 2018 The numbers have overwhelmed Kurdish-run camps in northeastern Syria, where humanitarian conditions are already dire amid a cold winter and meager resources. Zeina Karam, The Seattle Times, "Fierce battles near final IS foothold in eastern Syria," 12 Feb. 2019 An additional 60,000 people have moved toward the Jordanian border, where a combination of meager resources and harsh weather has caused some deaths. Louisa Loveluck, Washington Post, "Syrian rebels in surrender talks for southwest as civilians flee toward closed borders," 3 July 2018 Alas, my meager tax return can only get me the next best thing: 50 minutes at Silver Mirror Facial Bar in the Flatiron District for a full Korean-style skin treatment. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "10 Decadent Beauty Splurges Worthy of Your Tax Return, According to Vogue Editors," 10 Apr. 2019 The results found that a whopping 70% of participants appreciate top sheets, while a meager 27% see no need for them. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Top Sheet or No Top Sheet? Bedding War Rages On," 30 Mar. 2018 Though still comparatively meager in terms of overall student numbers, between spring 2016 and spring 2017 construction trades marked the largest percentage enrollment increase (26.4 percent) of all programs at four-year institutions. Chuck Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "The State of American Trade Schools," 13 Mar. 2019 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 odds are against Mike Espy in a Senate runoff election. But here’s his path to an upset win.," 27 Nov. 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.

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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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Statistics for meager

Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for meager

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

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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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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

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