scantier; scantiest
: limited or less than sufficient in degree, quantity, or extent
scantily adverb
scantiness 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 sum total of records from the plague itself is scanty: three letters by Mompesson written in 1666, the parish’s burial register and inscriptions on graves scattered around the village. 1843, 16 Apr. 2020 When evidence was scanty, or when misconduct needed to be covered up, police routinely perjured themselves to make sure case outcomes turned out as desired. Patrick Blanchfield, The New Republic, 31 Mar. 2020 Given the scale at which the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc across the globe, India’s scanty testing network might prove to be a terrible nightmare soon. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, 17 Mar. 2020 Japanese edible chrysanthemum: Data is scanty on other species that are also commonly called daisies, but one with daisylike flowers is definitely edible: Japanese edible chrysanthemum, a.k.a., shungiku or tong ho. Pam Peirce,, 7 Feb. 2020 In the sunshine outside a large convention center in the southern Spanish city of Estepona, some very fit-looking people in scanty clothing applied fake tans and rehearsed statuesque poses. Washington Post, 16 Nov. 2019 Falling production This year has been the first in nearly a century when India’s overall monsoon rainfall has exceeded its average levels despite a scanty start to the season in June. Kuwar Singh, Quartz India, 3 Oct. 2019 The Associated Press has not verified who caused the woman’s injury, and photographic evidence has been scanty. Washington Post, 13 Aug. 2019 The city's reservoirs and lakes are parched and its wells have run dry after two years of scanty rains here. Anchorage Daily News, 2 July 2019 See More

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

1600, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of scanty was in 1600

Dictionary Entries Near scanty

Cite this Entry

“Scanty.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


scantier; scantiest
: very small in size or amount
scanty nourishment
scanty bikinis
scantily adverb
scantiness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on scanty

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