\ ˈskant How to pronounce scant (audio) \

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

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!
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The greater Sacramento region remained scant at 11.3%, and Northern California, the only region not under the reginal stay-home orders, had 25.8%. Chronicle Staff,, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: Dec. 17-23," 1 Jan. 2021 Sufficient cap space is currently an impediment given Chicago currently has scant wiggle room in 2021. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "Five potential NFL landing spots for Carson Wentz if he leaves Eagles," 21 Dec. 2020 The air fryer is a modest investment and scant risk (no oil splatters!), the margins for error typically generous. Washington Post, "I was an air fryer skeptic, but now it’s the only thing that gets me excited about pandemic cooking," 21 Dec. 2020 The company isn’t hiring additional employees at the factory as part of the expansion, and details on the investment remain scant. Diego Mendoza-moyers,, "Toyota’s South Side plant expansion still on track despite pandemic," 16 Dec. 2020 Spoon a scant tablespoon lemon curd into each well. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Lemon adds a twist to traditional Christmas cookie recipes," 16 Dec. 2020 The consequences are burnout for teachers, frustration for parents and scant progress for students. Valerie Bauerlein And Yoree Koh, WSJ, "Teacher Shortage Compounds Covid Crisis in Schools," 15 Dec. 2020 Central banks are voicing support for fighting climate change but most are making scant progress on adjusting their monetary policies Around the world, neighborhoods are being reshaped as Covid-19 leaves businesses struggling for survival. Michael Heath,, "China’s Economic Goals, Zombie Recovery, Negative Rates: Eco Day," 15 Dec. 2020 But there is scant personality in any prospective candidate field without Trump, which is how Trump wound up president in the tragic first place, and, conceivably, might again. John Brummett, Arkansas Online, "OPINION | JOHN BRUMMETT: In Trump's footsteps," 14 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In most cases, the Electoral College vote is a mere formality that carries no drama and garners scant public attention. Gilbert Garcia,, "Garcia: San Antonian wisely voted against resolution from Texas electors," 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, "Georgia’s Quarterback Is a 5-Foot-11 ‘Mailman’," 16 Oct. 2020 Yet geriatrics is badly scanted in standard medical training. Joseph Epstein, WSJ, "‘Elderhood’ Review: The Way We Age Now," 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, "John Roberts: A Political Judge?," 20 June 2019 Foxhall’s history of migraine, unlike the self-help books, accommodates human complexity without scanting medicine’s contributions to a condition that affects roughly 1 in 7 people on our planet. Sibbie O'sullivan, Washington Post, "Migraines have plagued me for years. A new book puts my pain in perspective.," 10 June 2019 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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Time Traveler for scant

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for scant

Last Updated

10 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Scant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for scant


How to pronounce scant (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of scant

: very small in size or amount


\ ˈskant How to pronounce scant (audio) \

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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