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

Keep scrolling for more

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 California has native roses and grapes, but too scrawny and scraggly for Europeans’ liking, so the Spanish fathers brought their own grapevines — and corralled Native Americans to cultivate them. Los Angeles Times, 29 June 2021 One of the migrants, a scrawny 21-year-old in a camouflage shirt, struggled to remove his black-cord choker, and the agent snipped it off. New York Times, 7 Aug. 2021 Southern voters rewarded figures like Mississippi’s Sen. Henry Foote: short, scrawny, the loser of three of his four duels, but a ceaseless instigator of fights and defender of his honor. Jon Grinspan, WSJ, 7 May 2021 And … • Davidson, the former scrawny kid with one heck of a beefy story line that's definitely worth watching. Mark Craig is an NFL and Vikings Insider. Mark Craig, Star Tribune, 1 May 2021 Panas then returned to the estate as a scrawny one-eyed chicken, bald and vicious. Rachel Polonsky, The New York Review of Books, 11 May 2021 The curtain clung to his scrawny legs, itty‑bitty, bulging chicken legs. Jonas Eika, The New Yorker, 12 Apr. 2021 The centerpiece of the room is a cat playing a piano, a rather impressive piece of theme park robotics in which the scrawny cat stalks the keys. Todd Martens Game Critic, Los Angeles Times, 16 Apr. 2021 If the cart has no chance, the scrawny teenager driving has less. Frank Fellone, Arkansas Online, 3 Apr. 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of scrawny

1833, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for scrawny

origin unknown

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About scrawny

Time Traveler for scrawny

Time Traveler

The first known use of scrawny was in 1833

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near scrawny




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for scrawny

Last Updated

3 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Scrawny.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on scrawny

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for scrawny

Nglish: Translation of scrawny for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!