\ˈskant \

Definition of scant 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 dialect

a : excessively frugal

b : not prodigal : chary

2a : 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



Definition of scant (Entry 2 of 3)



scanted; scanting; scants

Definition of scant (Entry 3 of 3)

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

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Other Words from scant


scantly adverb
scantness noun

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


Food was in scant supply. She paid scant attention to the facts. Police found scant evidence of fraud.


don't scant the peanut butter on those sandwiches!
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Public attendance at the district’s monthly meetings generally is scant but now dozens show up, even when the sale isn’t on the agenda. Felicia Fonseca, The Seattle Times, "Western Arizona eyed as water source for major metro areas," 21 Apr. 2018 There is also no clear evidence that playing with toy guns makes a child more likely to commit a crime later in life, though research on this topic is scant. Chris Wilson, Time, "Why Walmart’s New Gun Rules Won’t Actually Reduce Homicides," 7 Mar. 2018 Her story, the scant details of which are depicted in the new exhibition that opened at Monticello on June 16, is rife with questions but spare on answers. Samantha Willis, Glamour, "Thomas Jefferson Owned Hundreds of Slaves. Now, a Black Woman Will Run His Foundation.," 29 June 2018 In public and behind closed doors, intelligence officials have offered scant details about what Russia is doing, prompting frustration from Silicon Valley to Capitol Hill. Matthew Rosenberg, New York Times, "Top Tech Companies Met With Intelligence Officials to Discuss Midterms," 25 June 2018 By and large, the business records of Stemerman, Stefanowski and Steve Obsitnik, a Westport tech entrepreneur who already qualified for the primary at the party’s convention, have received scant attention. Neil Vigdor,, "David Stemerman's U.S. Hedge Fund Holdings Shrank Before His Run For Governor," 14 June 2018 Related: Ford's invitation, which went out 29 minutes after Moroun's announcement that the company's Blue Oval would adorn the train station, provided scant details of its event next week. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Morouns out: Ford sends invitations for Detroit train station party," 11 June 2018 Luxe Reel offered scant details about its coming location. Maria L. La Ganga, idahostatesman, "More movie theaters. Cushy reclining seats. Eagle Road will go further upscale.," 30 May 2018 Verb is offering scant details on how the system will work. Laura Landro, WSJ, "The Operating Room of the Future," 28 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Yet, in his close attention to what the men inside the White House thought and did, Zeitz scants the larger reasons for their success and eventual downfall. Michael Kazin, The New Republic, "Realistic Ambitions," 27 Feb. 2018 Hospitals and heroic interventions got the large investments; incrementalists were scanted. Atul Gawande, The New Yorker, "The Heroism of Incremental Care," 23 Jan. 2017

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.

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First Known Use of scant


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


15th century, in the meaning defined above


circa 1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for scant


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

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Statistics for scant

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for scant

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

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More Definitions for scant



English Language Learners Definition of scant

: very small in size or amount


\ˈskant \

Kids Definition of scant

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.

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Comments on scant

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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