scant

1 of 3

adjective

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 breathWilliam Shakespeare
scantly adverb
scantness noun

scant

2 of 3

adverb

dialect

scant

3 of 3

verb

scanted; scanting; scants

transitive verb

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
Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of scant in a Sentence

Adjective Food was in scant supply. She paid scant attention to the facts. Police found scant evidence of fraud. Verb don't scant the peanut butter on those sandwiches!
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
There are scant few reliable and neutral indicators to show outsiders the true health of MLS, a reality that has only become more true since the league struck its 10-year, worldwide-streaming deal with Apple TV that started with the 2023 season. Ian Nicholas Quillen, Forbes, 18 Feb. 2024 Microsoft and Alphabet are already feeling the benefits of AI on their businesses (though specific financial details from the companies are woefully scant). Rachyl Jones, Fortune, 2 Feb. 2024 Yet public funding to combat hepatitis C is so scant that in Los Angeles County — an area more populous than many states — the crucial work of contacting those who are infected is being done by unpaid emissaries like Bruce through a fledgling initiative called Project Connect. Emily Alpert Reyes, Los Angeles Times, 4 Feb. 2024 While details remain scant, Israel alleges that 13 of the agency’s 13,000 Gaza staffers took part in the attack in varying capacities, ranging from involvement in kidnapping hostages to being told to set up an operations room. Alexandra Banner, CNN, 1 Feb. 2024 Opportunities for Black horror writers have typically been scant. Stephen Kearse, The Atlantic, 26 Jan. 2024 Information about the incident remained scant as of Wednesday. Sav Kelly, Twin Cities, 11 Jan. 2024 Those negotiations are taking place against the backdrop of scant snowfall so far this winter. Christopher Flavelle, New York Times, 6 Jan. 2024 Plot details are also scant, but Mike White has hinted that the East will play a big role. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 25 Jan. 2024
Adverb
How come scant few of America’s leading art museums own or display his work? Chadd Scott, Forbes, 30 May 2021
Verb
Trump captured attention his first time around, in part, by talking about issues that other candidates scanted: the threat of China, chaos at the southern border. Nr Editors, National Review, 22 Dec. 2023 For each of the debaters, the session will provide an opportunity for attention that has scanted them during months dominated by news about Trump and his parade of indictments. Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times, 23 Aug. 2023 For one, most victims do not trust the justice system, which leads to scant reporting. Lenore Anderson, ELLE, 7 Nov. 2022 There were few roads or trails or even paths to follow and scant potable water, but plenty of pit vipers and tarantulas. Ellen Ruppel Shell, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Apr. 2022 In most cases, the Electoral College vote is a mere formality that carries no drama and garners scant public attention. Gilbert Garcia, ExpressNews.com, 18 Dec. 2020 Bennett’s story began in southern Georgia’s rural Brantley County, home to scant football tradition when the Bennetts arrived from the Atlanta suburbs in 2004. Laine Higgins and Rachel Bachman, WSJ, 16 Oct. 2020 Yet geriatrics is badly scanted in standard medical training. Joseph Epstein, WSJ, 17 Jan. 2020 Issues that involve race — such as voting-rights cases and challenges to affirmative action in higher education — receive extensive treatment, while other, no less interesting and important questions are scanted or ignored. Carson Holloway, National Review, 20 June 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'scant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

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

First Known Use

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adverb

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

circa 1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of scant was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near scant

Cite this Entry

“Scant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/scant. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

scant

1 of 2 adjective
1
a
: barely or scarcely enough
especially : not quite coming up to a certain measure
a scant cup of milk
b
: lacking in size or quantity : meager, scanty
scant growth
2
: having a small or short supply
scant of breath
scantly adverb
scantness noun

scant

2 of 2 verb

More from Merriam-Webster on scant

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