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

Working evenings as a janitor for meager wages helped me get through college in the daytime and kept gas in my rust-bucket car. WSJ, "The $15 Minimum Wage and Restaurants," 28 June 2019 Gushing rivers, languishing lakes While Mars's current atmosphere is too meager to trap much heat from the sun, many scientists agree that a thicker version likely once blanketed the red planet and fostered a wetter world. National Geographic, "Rivers may have flowed on Mars for longer than anyone realized," 27 Mar. 2019 In the early days of the league, officials said, some players delivered pizza at night to augment their meager wages. Jeré Longman, New York Times, "Stuck in Soccer Limbo, in the Shadow of the World Cup," 2 July 2018 His pro career numbers are meager: 4-of-8 passing for 28 yards in four games as a backup for the New York Giants. Tyler Dragon, Cincinnati.com, "Reflecting back on Jared Lorenzen's NFL career with the New York Giants," 9 July 2019 Earnings are meager, despite the risks: most deliveries in Mexico City net between 30 and 60 pesos ($1.58 to $3.17). Martha Pskowski, The Verge, "Deaths and injuries don’t slow Uber Eats’ rapid expansion in Mexico," 3 July 2019 Many current and former prisoners have said that working behind bars gives otherwise empty days a sense of meaning — and the meager wages go further when your housing, food, and health care are all (or mostly) paid for by the state. Teen Vogue, "These Massachusetts Student Journalists Exposed Their High School’s Use of Prison Labor," 24 June 2019 Definite reports of progress were meager at supreme headquarters. Wes Gallagher, Houston Chronicle, "YANKS TAKE TOWN NEAR CHERBOURG," 9 June 2019 As Steve Wasserman, editor of the Los Angeles Times Book Review from 1996 to 2005, wrote in Columbia Journalism Review in 2007: Book coverage is not only meager but shockingly mediocre. Christian Lorentzen, Harper's magazine, "Like This or Die," 10 Apr. 2019

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

7 Aug 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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