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skin·​ny ˈski-nē How to pronounce skinny (audio)
skinnier; skinniest
: resembling skin : membranous
: lacking sufficient flesh : very thin : emaciated
: lacking usual or desirable bulk, quantity, qualities, or significance
of clothes : fitting very close to the body : very tight
skinny jeans
: made with skim milk
a skinny latte
skinniness noun


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: inside information : dope
the straight skinny on what's going onJohn Geary
Choose the Right Synonym for skinny

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

Example Sentences

Adjective the tree swing was supported only by a couple of skinny branches her grandmother was always insisting that she was too skinny and never tired of trying to force more food on her Noun a TV show that offers all the skinny on Tinseltown and the stars that light it up
Recent Examples on the Web
Inside the ball, curled up and occupying themselves with various tasks, were two skinny men: Otis Barton and William Beebe. Brad Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 May 2023 When closed, the Pixel Fold looks more like a regular smartphone, just shorter, while the Z Fold 4 looks unconventionally skinny. Dave Leclair, PCMAG, 11 May 2023 For the fun day out, the princess dressed in a light denim blue blouse from Really Wild with bulbous sleeves, dark green skinny cargo trousers by G-Star Raw, a brown braid belt, brown Blundstone boots, and small gold hoop earrings. Rosa Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 9 May 2023 Huales, who is Hispanic, is described as 5-foot 5-inches tall and 130 pounds with a skinny build, according to police. Hannah Kirby, Journal Sentinel, 7 May 2023 More:Khloe Kardashian’s nose job confession and the pressure to look perfect Pilates, low-rise jeans and Kardashians:Is 'skinny' making a comeback? Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, 4 May 2023 Hence today’s internetful of cat diversity: fluffy cats, skinny cats, tricolor cats, cats with floppy ears, hairless cats. Jerry A. Coyne, Washington Post, 3 May 2023 The show was notable for its focus on Annie, a character who wasn’t the usual conventionally skinny TV leading lady, and who was defined not by her physical shape but by her ambitions and desires. Kturnqui, oregonlive, 30 Apr. 2023 Unlike the chubby, fluffy image of her younger self, 22-year-old Ya Ya has appeared skinny in recent photos, with her black and white coat missing clumps of fur. Nectar Gan, CNN, 26 Apr. 2023
Nobody would mistake me for skinny. Evette Dionne, ELLE, 12 Dec. 2022 Tall skinny can in a bunch of bright colors? Abigail Rosenthal, Chron, 28 May 2021 But Waller felt like a square peg in a round hole with Josh McDaniels, whose previous offenses never utilized a skinny, receiving tight end who didn’t contribute much in the run game. Ben Volin,, 18 Mar. 2023 Sorry for skinny-shaming, but somebody needs to get this man a cheeseburger with fries and a shake. Dan Shaughnessy,, 15 Feb. 2023 The skinny: The teams have met twice in the playoffs. al, 29 Nov. 2022 Her black skinny jeans are rolled above her Doc Martens. Angie Martoccio, Rolling Stone, 19 Jan. 2023 Christine Baranski truly does throw skinny-dipping parties in the moonlight for her friends. Jason P. Frank, Vulture, 7 Sep. 2022 Pull out those black skinny jeans from the back of your closet, (carefully) shred them to bits with scissors and sandpaper, and your denim line-up is alt-ready. Hannah Oh, Seventeen, 14 Dec. 2022 See More

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

Word History



perhaps from skin entry 1 + -y entry 4

First Known Use


circa 1541, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1938, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of skinny was circa 1541

Dictionary Entries Near skinny

Cite this Entry

“Skinny.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


skinnier; skinniest
: resembling skin : membranous
a skinny layer
: very thin
skinniness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on skinny

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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