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 my driveway, this was where the Audi started to snicker — and not because the S4 had 200 more horsepower than the Sentra’s meager 149. cleveland, "Affordable Nissan Sentra makes your pulse accelerate, until you hit the gas pedal (review)," 9 May 2020 During the six months that coffee was rationed, the allotment was a meager 1 pound for five weeks for everyone over 15. NBC News, "Meat rationing during WWII holds few similarities to 'shortage' of 2020," 1 May 2020 The idea that a push for major structural change in a nation of 327 million, where few Americans have even the most meager measure of financial security, should be polite is contemptible. Gretchen Felker-martin, refinery29.com, "How Modern Politics Became A Death Cult," 24 Mar. 2020 Skalnik ended up evading even that relatively meager punishment. Pamela Colloff, ProPublica, "He’s a Liar, a Con Artist and a Snitch. His Testimony Could Soon Send a Man to His Death.," 4 Dec. 2019 Here's a look at what has to happen for the Colts to still make the playoffs: (Photo: Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar) AFC South Houston's victory over New England on Sunday night is a major blow to the Colts' already meager chances. Nat Newell, Indianapolis Star, "Playoffs! Playoffs? Yes, here's how the Colts can still make the playoffs," 2 Dec. 2019 After throwing a dozen or so interceptions each season early in his career, Brady had only eight in 2007, a meager 1.4 percent of passes attempted, compared with a previous low of 2.3. Victor Mather, New York Times, "Tom Brady Became Tom Brady in 2007," 17 Mar. 2020 Her meager income was supported by a few Jewish institutions and rabbis, Sarna learned. Penny Schwartz, sun-sentinel.com, "The earliest known American Jewish novel introduces a new feminist voice," 20 Nov. 2019 Under the Affordable Care Act, nonprofit hospitals like St. Joseph are required to provide free or discounted care to patients of meager incomes — or risk losing their tax-exempt status. Jordan Rau, chicagotribune.com, "Patients eligible for charity care instead get big bills," 18 Oct. 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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Time Traveler for meager

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for meager

Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Meager.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meager. Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for meager

meager

adjective
How to pronounce meager (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for meager

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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