scraw·​ny | \ˈskrȯ-nē \
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

One young man, scrawny in tight jeans, looked lost. Mujib Mashal, New York Times, "Their Road to Turkey Was Long and Grueling, but the Short Flight Home Was Crueler," 16 June 2018 On one of his first days, Clark ran into a scruffy, scrawny blonde dude with a patchy Fu Manchu. Chris Ballard,, "In Montana, a 49ers Reunion for Dwight Clark," 2 May 2018 In 1960, muscular men like Charles Atlas and Joe Weider took out ads in comic books that encouraged scrawny men and boys to follow their training regimen to avoid being bullied. USA TODAY, "The biggest exercise fad the year you were born," 12 July 2018 Two healthy but scrawny plants have produced one growing pepper. Paul Daugherty,, "TML: The Reds' sweep of the Cubs made for the most satisfying sports weekend in a while," 25 June 2018 The chickens prove tough and scrawny and rather gruesome to kill. Kanishk Tharoor, The Atlantic, "Anthony Bourdain’s Extreme Empathy," 10 June 2018 Chris Evans puts the country on his broad shoulders as Steve Rogers, a once-scrawny Brooklynite who is pumped full of serum to become a super soldier during World War II. Andrew R. Chow, New York Times, "What’s on TV Wednesday: Fireworks and ‘Captain America’," 4 July 2018 The crying woman appears to be in an abusive relationship, and the scrawny singer, his hair in peroxide-blond spikes, seems to narrate her emotions. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "What Linkin Park Gave to Pop Music," 25 June 2018 They weren't scared to take a scrawny point guard from Davidson, which ultimately set the foundation for their run of three titles in four years. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Breaking down the best and worst NBA draft picks at every position 1 through 10," 19 June 2018

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

18 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

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 \
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

Spanish Central: Translation of scrawny

Nglish: Translation of scrawny for Spanish Speakers

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living or existing for a long time

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