\ ˈskan-tē How to pronounce scanty (audio) \
scantier; scantiest

Definition of scanty

: limited or less than sufficient in degree, quantity, or extent

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from scanty

scantily \ ˈskan-​tə-​lē How to pronounce scantily (audio) \ adverb
scantiness \ ˈskan-​tē-​nəs How to pronounce scantiness (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for scanty

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 scanty in a Sentence

The cheerleaders wore scanty outfits. the camera's scanty instructions left me somewhat confused

Recent Examples on the Web

The city's reservoirs and lakes are parched and its wells have run dry after two years of scanty rains here. Anchorage Daily News, "As a major Indian city runs out of water, 9 million people pray for rain," 2 July 2019 The city’s reservoirs and lakes are parched and its wells have run dry after two years of scanty rains here. Joanna Slater, Washington Post, "As a major Indian city runs out of water, 9 million people pray for rain," 28 June 2019 Lower rates and monetary stimulus measures mean cheaper borrowing, but scantier returns for savers. Washington Post, "European Central Bank hints at stimulus — drawing Trump ire," 18 June 2019 Damage assessments were scanty during the night because of darkness and poor communications, but federal officials said power had been knocked out in some spots and there were early reports of flimsy structures with tin roofs sustaining damage. Marco Ugarte, The Seattle Times, "Hurricane Willa moves inland after hitting Mexico coast," 23 Oct. 2018 For now, details on how the mechanism would work are scanty. Laurence Norman, WSJ, "Europe’s Payment Channel to Salvage Iran Deal Faces Limits," 25 Sep. 2018 In the most recent quarter ended March 31, broadcasting was the second-smallest contributor to revenue of all Disney’s operations, and by far the smallest contributor to profit, earning a scanty $343 million in operating profit. Michael Hiltzik,, "Canceling 'Roseanne' may have been the easiest decision Disney ever made. Here's why," 30 May 2018 Persky then allowed photographs of wearing a scanty Halloween outfit sometime after the attack to be submitted as evidence. Gabriel Baumgaertner,, "Brock Turner, the 'Athlete Bias,' and the Movement That Produced the Recall of Judge Aaron Persky," 6 June 2018 Discarding even the tights, the Menken wore only a scanty white blouse and shorts that came up well above her knees. Gary Kamiya, San Francisco Chronicle, "The 19th century nude scene that took San Francisco by storm," 27 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scanty.' 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 scanty

1600, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for scanty

English dialect scant scanty supply, from Middle English, from Old Norse skamt, from neuter of skammr short

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about scanty

Statistics for scanty

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for scanty

The first known use of scanty was in 1600

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for scanty



English Language Learners Definition of scanty

: very small in size or amount


\ ˈskan-tē How to pronounce scanty (audio) \
scantier; scantiest

Kids Definition of scanty

: barely enough : lacking in size or quantity a scanty harvest

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on scanty

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with scanty

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for scanty

Spanish Central: Translation of scanty

Nglish: Translation of scanty for Spanish Speakers

Comments on scanty

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


an act or instance of editing or removing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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