scraw·​ny | \ ˈskrȯ-nē How to pronounce scrawny (audio) \
scrawnier; scrawniest

Definition of scrawny

: exceptionally thin and slight or meager in body or size scrawny scrub cattle

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Other Words from scrawny

scrawniness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for scrawny

lean, spare, lank, lanky, gaunt, rawboned, scrawny, skinny mean thin because of an absence of excess flesh. lean stresses lack of fat and of curving contours. a lean racehorse spare suggests leanness from abstemious living or constant exercise. the gymnast's spare figure lank implies tallness as well as leanness. the lank legs of the heron lanky suggests awkwardness and loose-jointedness as well as thinness. a lanky youth, all arms and legs gaunt implies marked thinness or emaciation as from overwork or suffering. a prisoner's gaunt face rawboned suggests a large ungainly build without implying undernourishment. a rawboned farmer scrawny and skinny imply an extreme leanness that suggests deficient strength and vitality. a scrawny chicken skinny street urchins

Examples of scrawny in a Sentence

The only plants in their yard were a couple of scrawny bushes.

Recent Examples on the Web

In November, a number of scrawny saplings appear, each propped up by posts and protected by circular fencing—the beginnings of a memorial grove. Chris Wiley, The New Yorker, "The Site of an Environmentalist’s Deadly Act of Protest," 15 Apr. 2018 And if that’s dancing with scrawny [sic] little f—, so be it. Joelle Goldstein,, "Olivia Culpo Opens Up About Her Past Battle with Depression: 'It's Ok to Not Be Ok'," 11 July 2019 As the movie explains to us, Brad used to be a little scrawny kid, but over the last five years turned into a big jock (and also a big jerk). Rachel Paige,, "Spider-Man: Far From Home," 5 July 2019 The boys wore yellow, the official color of the Thai royal family, and their scrawny frames ducked to clear the three-foot ceiling. Max Marshall,, "Mining the Miracle," 26 June 2019 While interviewing a man in his backyard, Kinton noticed a scrawny white puppy near the back of his lawn. Anne Nickoloff,, "Cleveland celebrity dog Snowball achieves stardom as an actor," 24 June 2019 The clip shows a short, scrawny figure with wobbly legs and floppy ears joyously galavanting down a driveway. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "'What the heck' is that? Security camera captures odd creature, and viewers have theories," 11 June 2019 The Florida Everglades are teeming with snakes, but scientists conducting research in the marshy grasslands recently encountered a slithering behemoth big enough to make all the other serpents look scrawny. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Researchers Capture the Biggest Snake Ever Found in the Florida Everglades," 8 Apr. 2019 Now 31, the 5-foot-10, 200-pound Mr. Edelman was once a scrawny high-school player. Alexandra Wolfe, WSJ, "Julian Edelman: Football Player, Children’s Book Author," 29 Dec. 2017

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

1833, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for scrawny

origin unknown

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Statistics for scrawny

Last Updated

9 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for scrawny

The first known use of scrawny was in 1833

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More Definitions for scrawny



English Language Learners Definition of scrawny

: very thin in a way that is not attractive or healthy


scraw·​ny | \ ˈskrȯ-nē How to pronounce scrawny (audio) \
scrawnier; scrawniest

Kids Definition of scrawny

: poorly nourished : skinny a scrawny cat

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More from Merriam-Webster on scrawny

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with scrawny

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for scrawny

Spanish Central: Translation of scrawny

Nglish: Translation of scrawny for Spanish Speakers

Comments on scrawny

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


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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