1

scant

adjective \ ˈskant \
Updated on: 15 Apr 2018

Definition of scant

1 dialect
a : excessively frugal
b : not prodigal : chary
2 a : barely or scarcely sufficient; especially : not quite coming up to a stated measure
  • a scant teaspoon
b : lacking in amplitude or quantity
  • scant growth
3 : having a small or insufficient supply
  • he's fat, and scant of breath
  • —William Shakespeare

scantly

adverb

scantness

noun

Examples of scant in a Sentence

  1. Food was in scant supply.

  2. She paid scant attention to the facts.

  3. Police found scant evidence of fraud.

Recent Examples of scant from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of scant

Middle English, from Old Norse skamt, neuter of skammr short

Synonym Discussion of scant

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

2

scant

adverb

Definition of scant

dialect

First Known Use of scant

15th century

in the meaning defined above

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler

3

scant

verb

Definition of scant

1 : to provide an incomplete supply of
2 : to make small, narrow, or meager
3 : to give scant attention to : slight
4 : to provide with a meager or inadequate portion or supply : stint

Examples of scant in a Sentence

  1. don't scant the peanut butter on those sandwiches!

Recent Examples of scant from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of scant

circa 1580

in the meaning defined at sense 1

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler

scant Synonyms


SCANT Defined for English Language Learners

scant

Definition of scant for English Language Learners

  • : very small in size or amount


SCANT Defined for Kids

scant

adjective \ ˈskant \

Definition of scant for Students

1 : barely enough
  • Ramona paid scant attention to this little speech …
  • —Beverly Cleary, Ramona Quimby
2 : not quite to a full amount, degree, or extent
  • He poured a scant cup of milk.


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up scant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

a large number

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks Quiz

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!