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

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 Failure of any of the troubled plans would quickly drain the PBGC’s relatively meager funds, leaving some of those participants with little or no benefits. Heather Gillers, WSJ, "Panel Won’t Meet Deadline on Fix for Multiemployer Pension Plans," 29 Nov. 2018 Even now, though, Bezos’s $2 billion is a meager amount of money relative to the giving plans of other billionaires. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "$2 billion in charity is not enough for Jeff Bezos to slink out of the public limelight," 13 Sep. 2018 With the army survivors thinning out each year, The Return has a quasi-documentary feeling in recounting their bleak lives in Taipei, whose ambitions are limited to squeaking by on a meager military pension and saving up for a funeral plot. Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Return' ('Fu Xiang Xin'): Film Review | Shanghai 2019," 16 June 2019 After hitting a meager .226 with eight RBIs over his first 48 games, first baseman Joey Votto is slashing .345/.400/.517 over his last 15, with a matching eight RBIs. Houston Chronicle, "On deck: Astros at Cincinnati Reds," 16 June 2019 My wages at the restaurant were meager and inconsistent. Aram Mrjoian, Longreads, "Bearing the Weight of My Grandfathers’ Old Clothes," 15 June 2019 The International Monetary Fund projects a meager 0.4% uptick in 2019 that will not keep up with population growth. Jessica Eise, The Conversation, "How an aid gusher helped and hurt Liberia," 14 June 2019 In the meager deserts of southern Namibia, brown hyenas maintain home ranges of up to 1,150 square miles. Christine Dell'amore, National Geographic, "Hyenas have a bad rap—but they’re Africa’s most successful predator," 14 June 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

10 Jul 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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