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

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

Though the title may have earned back its low budget, and had a clever AI angle on the well-trod story, these returns are really meager — especially when compared to that other haunted doll movie. James Hibberd, EW.com, "The 17 biggest summer box office winners and losers of 2019," 14 Aug. 2019 Exterior signage is meager, and the entrance is easy to miss, but customers will feel comfortable and coddled once inside. Phil Vettel, chicagotribune.com, "Review: Ocean Prime’s seafood is primo, but pricy," 24 July 2019 Projections in the GSMA Mobile economy report for 2019 show 4G networks accounted for a meager 7% of mobile connections across sub Saharan Africa at the end of 2018, compared to the global average of 44%. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Africa is at least five years away from faster 4G mobile networks having a major impact," 18 July 2019 The amenities for the paying passengers, even C-suite level folks, are often surprisingly meager in comparison. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Private Airports," 12 July 2019 Ten-year Treasury bonds, for example, are paying a meager 2.05% in annual interest. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "Fed rate cut should goose stock market, history shows," 14 June 2019 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

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 "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.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about meager

Statistics for meager

Last Updated

4 Sep 2019

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

recurring in steady succession

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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!