thin

adjective
\ˈthin \
thinner; thinnest

Definition of thin 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a : having little extent from one surface to its opposite thin paper

b : measuring little in cross section or diameter thin rope

2 : not dense in arrangement or distribution thin hair

3 : not well fleshed : lean

4a : more fluid or rarefied than normal thin air

b : having less than the usual number : scanty thin attendance

c : few in number : scarce

d : scantily supplied

e : characterized by a paucity of bids or offerings a thin market

5a : lacking substance or strength thin broth a thin plot

b of a soil : infertile, poor

6a : flimsy, unconvincing a thin disguise

b : disappointingly poor or hard had a thin time of it

7 : somewhat feeble, shrill, and lacking in resonance a thin voice

8 : lacking in intensity or brilliance thin light

9 : lacking sufficient photographic density or contrast

thin on the ground

thin

verb
thinned; thinning

Definition of thin (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: to make thin or thinner:

a : to reduce in thickness or depth : attenuate

b : to make less dense or viscous

c : dilute, weaken

d : to cause to lose flesh thinned by weeks of privation

e : to reduce in number or bulk

intransitive verb

1 : to become thin or thinner

2 : to become weak

thin

adverb
thinner; thinnest

Definition of thin (Entry 3 of 3)

: in a thin manner : thinly used especially in combination thin-cladthin-flowing

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from thin

Adjective

thinly adverb
thinness \ ˈthin-​nəs \ noun
thinnish \ ˈthi-​nish \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for thin

Synonyms: Adjective

bony (also boney), fatless, lean, lithe, skinny, slender, slim, spare, svelte

Synonyms: Verb

adulterate, cut, dilute, extend, lace, sophisticate, water down, weaken

Antonyms: Adjective

chubby, corpulent, fat, obese, overweight, plump, portly, rotund, tubby

Antonyms: Verb

enrich, fortify, richen, strengthen

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for thin

Adjective

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 thin in a Sentence

Adjective

a thin coating of dust pizza with a thin crust a thin slice of ham a thin stand of trees

Verb

He added a little more water to thin the gravy. The haze thinned in the late afternoon. His face has been thinned by illness.

Adverb

She sliced the cheese thin.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Being too thin was synonymous with the zombie addicts of our streets. Sonya Renee Taylor, SELF, "The House Next Door," 26 June 2018 The hair on your pup's belly is usually thinner, as well, so tummies are more likely to burn. Southern Living, "Here's How To Prevent Your Dog From Getting A Sunburn," 22 June 2018 Venus and Mars, two planets nominally in the habitable zone, became too hot or too cold, with an atmosphere too thick or too thin to sustain liquid water. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "One of the Three Closest Stars Looks Friendly for Life," 6 June 2018 The cities had argued that the corridor was too thin to accommodate both joggers and locomotives and would be dangerous for those on foot. John Tuohy, Indianapolis Star, "Feds give go-ahead to Nickel Plate greenway in Hamilton County," 1 June 2018 He is scheduled to pitch Tuesday, and the Rangers are too thin on starting pitchers to consider taking him off their roster to create a 40-man spot for Rodriguez. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Rangers Reaction: Will Tim Lincecum ever throw a pitch for Rangers?," 28 May 2018 Buyers spreading themselves too thin will miss their perfect house. Kenneth R. Gosselin, courant.com, "Tips for Home Buyers From The Experts," 17 May 2018 Don’t dismiss it as too thin for when foul weather hits, however—the waterproof, windproof shell kept us warm and dry during a run in a bracing downpour. Outside Online, "The Best Women’s Workout Kit of 2018," 15 May 2018 It's been whispered around the horse racing community that Justify’s remaining race schedule this year could be very thin and that was before this. John Cherwa, latimes.com, "Racing! CHRB ready to tackle Golden Gate issue," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Any dense shrub or thick slope cover may harbor a rat’s nest, so thinning these ornamental areas is an important feature in rodent management. Michael Harrelson, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Keep it clean to spare citrus from rats," 12 Apr. 2018 Try thinning the plants by removing some of the suckers to increase air flow and light penetration while decreasing the risk of disease. Melinda Myers, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Tomato blight can be tricky to eliminate," 9 Feb. 2018 Erstwhile Mumbaities, David Cooper and his wife, Zerin, are worried though about the rapidly thinning security staff and recent break-ins. Anto Antony, Bloomberg.com, "Billionaire’s Folly Becomes Bankers’ Nightmare," 18 June 2018 Keenan than supposedly went on to address the thinning patience of his fans, who have been anxiously waiting 12 years for a new Tool album. Mackenzie Cummings-grady, Billboard, "Tool Gives Heartwarming Tribute to Chris Cornell at 'Rock The Range' Festival," 21 May 2018 Nature has a way of thinning them out, Farrell said. Alex Devoid, azcentral, "Volunteers care for Navajo wild horses during drought, despite overpopulation concerns," 13 July 2018 Season with salt and pepper, then add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of sherry vinegar, the sugar and a big splash of water to thin it out. Chris Ross, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Blender gazpacho has umami flavors," 9 July 2018 Rewards totaling $15,000 have been offered for information leading to the arrest of Steven Joshua Wiggins, 31, a white male with thinning brown hair. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Affidavit: Woman was in car when suspect fatally shot Tenn. deputy," 31 May 2018 Do not think that only areas in the cone will be impacted — everyone in our state must be prepared [East coast residents are thanking him at this point for thinning the beach crowds]. Fabiola Santiago, miamiherald, "Memo to Gov. Rick Scott: A real Floridian doesn’t get hysterical over rain and squalls," 29 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Resources at many university counseling centers are stretched thin, forcing students to wait weeks for an appointment. Aneri Pattani, chicagotribune.com, "College students train to help peers at risk for suicide, depression and more," 12 July 2018 Resources at many university counseling centers are stretched thin, forcing students to wait weeks for an appointment. Aneri Pattani, chicagotribune.com, "College students train to help peers at risk for suicide, depression and more," 12 July 2018 Resources at many university counseling centers are stretched thin, forcing students to wait weeks for an appointment. Aneri Pattani, chicagotribune.com, "College students train to help peers at risk for suicide, depression and more," 12 July 2018 Resources at many university counseling centers are stretched thin, forcing students to wait weeks for an appointment. Aneri Pattani, chicagotribune.com, "College students train to help peers at risk for suicide, depression and more," 12 July 2018 Relievers Ryan Meisinger and Paul Fry will join the Orioles on Friday, according to an industry source, providing cover for a bullpen that's been stretched thin over the last week. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "Orioles to add relievers Ryan Meisinger, Paul Fry to bullpen," 29 June 2018 Resources at many university counseling centers are stretched thin, forcing students to wait weeks for an appointment. Aneri Pattani, chicagotribune.com, "College students train to help peers at risk for suicide, depression and more," 12 July 2018 Resources at many university counseling centers are stretched thin, forcing students to wait weeks for an appointment. Aneri Pattani, chicagotribune.com, "College students train to help peers at risk for suicide, depression and more," 12 July 2018 France’s army is stretched thin, distracted by commitments to its former colonies in Africa. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "America Pitches Its Potential Defense Plan for Europe," 7 June 2018

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

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Adverb

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for thin

Adjective

Middle English thinne, from Old English thynne; akin to Old High German dunni thin, Latin tenuis thin, tenēre to hold, tendere to stretch, Greek teinein

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about thin

Statistics for thin

Last Updated

1 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for thin

The first known use of thin was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for thin

thin

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of thin

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: having a small distance between the top and bottom or front and back surfaces : not thick

: not having a lot of extra flesh on the body : not fat

: not growing closely together : not growing in a large amount

thin

verb

English Language Learners Definition of thin (Entry 2 of 3)

: to become less crowded, close together, or full

: to make (a liquid) less thick by adding water or some other liquid to it

of a person's hair : to become less thick as more hairs fall out over time

thin

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of thin (Entry 3 of 3)

: in a way that makes thin pieces, layers, etc.

thin

adjective
\ˈthin \
thinner; thinnest

Kids Definition of thin

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having little body fat

2 : having little size from one surface to its opposite : not thick a thin board

3 : having the parts not close together thin hair

4 : flowing very easily a thin soup

5 : having less than the usual number Attendance was thin.

6 : not very convincing a thin excuse

7 : somewhat weak or high a thin voice

8 : having less oxygen than normal thin air

Other Words from thin

thinly adverb
thinness noun

thin

verb
thinned; thinning

Kids Definition of thin (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make or become smaller in thickness or number The crowd was beginning to thin.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on thin

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to express warning or disapproval

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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