slen·​der ˈslen-dər How to pronounce slender (audio)
: spare in frame or flesh
especially : gracefully slight
: small or narrow in circumference or width in proportion to length or height
: limited or inadequate in amount or scope : meager
people of slender means
slenderly adverb
slenderness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for slender

thin, slender, slim, slight, tenuous mean not thick, broad, abundant, or dense.

thin implies comparatively little extension between surfaces or in diameter, or it may imply lack of substance, richness, or abundance.

thin wire
a thin soup

slender implies leanness or spareness often with grace and good proportion.

the slender legs of a Sheraton chair

slim applies to slenderness that suggests fragility or scantiness.

a slim volume of poetry
a slim chance

slight implies smallness as well as thinness.

a slight build

tenuous implies extreme thinness, sheerness, or lack of substance and firmness.

a tenuous thread

Examples of slender in a Sentence

She has a slender figure. a flower with a slender stem an animal with a long, slender snout
Recent Examples on the Web There are fewer than 1,000 of the diving water birds, which are known for their slender necks and vibrant mullets. Mithil Aggarwal, NBC News, 10 Nov. 2023 This gorgeously simple napkin ring features two slender strands that are intertwined together to mimic the look of rope. Maya Polton, Better Homes & Gardens, 2 Nov. 2023 The short, slender woman clutches two leashes in her right hand. Michael Wilson, New York Times, 25 Oct. 2023 The grand entrance gallery features an inlaid wood floor and a curved staircase, and the spacious fireside living room spills out to a slender terrace with sweeping views of the Marin Headlands across the mouth of San Francisco Bay. Mark David, Robb Report, 31 Oct. 2023 Its transparent structure is alluring, and the slender design gives the impression of a book. Claire Rutter, Rolling Stone, 25 Oct. 2023 Canes are elevated on a slender trunk that can snap or break, and the entire plant can even blow over in very windy conditions. Rita Perwich, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 Oct. 2023 When asked about the inspiration for the look, Browne has cited memories of John F. Kennedy’s slender suits. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 18 Sep. 2023 The larger forces at play in the latest speaker impasse In both the January and October speaker votes, McCarthy and Jordan could only afford a small number of defections because of the GOP’s slender majority. Geoffrey Skelley, ABC News, 19 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English sclendre, slendre, from Anglo-French esclendre

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of slender was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near slender

Cite this Entry

“Slender.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


slen·​der ˈslen-dər How to pronounce slender (audio)
: limited or not enough in amount : meager
a slender income
slenderly adverb
slenderness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on slender

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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