thin

adjective
\ ˈthin How to pronounce thin (audio) \
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 How to pronounce thinness (audio) \ noun
thinnish \ ˈthi-​nish How to pronounce thinnish (audio) \ 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, gross, 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

Step 8: Add Protective Finish Once the paint is fully dry—which didn't take long since the coats are very thin—add a finishing coat to protect the paint from chips and stains. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "How to Whitewash Wood Furniture: 8 Easy Steps for Your Next Furniture Makeover," 19 Apr. 2019 During London’s winter auctions last week, bidding was eerily thin for several paintings by Gerhard Richter, the 87-year-old German who until recently reigned as the world’s top-selling living artist. Kelly Crow, WSJ, "Gerhard Richter Was the World’s Top-Selling Living Artist for Years but May Cede That Title in 2019," 12 Mar. 2019 Which is, say, the Karman line at 100 kilometers, which is an arbitrary point at which the atmosphere is fairly thin. Ryan D'agostino, Popular Mechanics, "Elon Musk: The Popular Mechanics Interview," 25 Feb. 2019 Some argue that, especially with ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other commitments around the world, the military is simply stretched too thin. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "Why a Judge Ruled the Males-Only Military Draft Unconstitutional," 25 Feb. 2019 Some, like the thin, slightly bitter Hello Kitty, were tolerable, but more often than not, the wines weren’t very good. Lettie Teague, WSJ, "Do Women Really Want Wine That’s Sweet, Pink and Silly?," 30 Oct. 2018 All of the extra weight would no doubt limit that range, so Dethleffs has added 334 square feet of thin-film solar panels that can generate up to 3,000 watts of electricity to keep the 228-Ah sodium-nickel-chloride battery array charged. Megan Barber, Curbed, "5 campers pushing RV design into the future," 28 Sep. 2018 Assuming that Arizona Senator John McCain is too sick to vote, the Republicans will have a razor-thin margin to confirm an opponent. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Can Trump’s Supreme Court takeover be stopped?," 28 June 2018 Of course, there is still chocolate, but only a thin layer on the bottom. Woman's Day, "We Tried the New Reese's Cup Made Strictly For Peanut Butter Lovers," 27 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Smugglers torture migrants and film it to extract ransom payments from their families, and to thin the number of people in their unofficial prisons, according to the study. Lori Hinnant, The Seattle Times, "Study: Sexual torture widespread for migrants seeking Europe," 25 Mar. 2019 Pinterest’s revenue for 2018 totaled $756 million, up from $472.9 million a year earlier; the company’s net loss thinned to $63 million from $130 million in 2017. ... Eliot Brown, WSJ, "Pinterest Makes IPO Filing Public," 22 Mar. 2019 If the mixture is too thick, add a bit more water to thin it out. Sarah Fritsche, San Francisco Chronicle, "Citrus, chicories and the winter farmers’ markets," 2 Feb. 2018 So if your snot is like molasses, drink up to help thin it out. Amy Marturana, SELF, "What Your Snot Can Tell You About Your Health," 26 Dec. 2018 As the crowd thinned out, the music went from hip-hop to pop, to the Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears masterpieces of Lohan’s glory days. Bridget Read, Vogue, "Rebooting Lindsay Lohan," 8 Jan. 2019 Nationally, the ranks of moderates have thinned with the retirements of Sens. David Sharp, The Seattle Times, "What is Dems’ quest to unseat Collins missing? A candidate," 28 Jan. 2019 Some Democratic Party activists and candidates have either complained about the inability of leaders to thin the field in some of these competitive districts or criticized them for getting behind the wrong candidates. Michael Smolens, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Will San Diego be the 'blue wave' canary in a coal mine?," 3 June 2018 But now the spreads have stopped narrowing because profit margins have thinned. Peter Grant, WSJ, "Rising Borrowing Costs Spell Trouble for Commercial Real Estate," 18 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

As Customs and Border Protection is spread thin, there’s an increased likelihood of drugs, guns, criminals and contraband getting through. Jillian Kay Melchior, WSJ, "Is There a Crisis at the Border?," 5 Nov. 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 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

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 thin, thinne, going back to Old English þynne, going back to Germanic *þunnu- (assimilated to the -ja-stem adjectives in West Germanic, whence Middle Dutch dunne "thin," Old High German dunni, against Old Norse þunnr), generalized from a paradigm *þenu-, *þunw-a-, going back to Indo-European *ténh2u-, *tn̥h2u̯ó-, whence also, from with a base *tenh2u-, *tn̥h2u- with varying ablaut and suffixation, Old Irish tanae "thin, slender," Old Welsh teneu, Middle Breton tanau, Latin tenuis "fine-drawn, thin, narrow, slight," Greek tanu- "extended, long," tanaós "outstretched, long," Old Church Slavic tĭnŭkŭ "fine, delicate," Russian tónkij "thin," Croatian & Serbian tȁnak, Lithuanian tę́vas, Sanskrit tanúḥ, tánukaḥ "thin, small"

Note: Indo-European *tenh2u-, *tn̥h2u- is usually taken to be a derivative of the verbal base *ten- "stretch, extend"; see tenant entry 1.

Verb

Middle English thinnen, going back to Old English þynnian, derivative of þynne thin entry 1

Adverb

Middle English thynne, derivative of thin, thinne thin entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about thin

Statistics for thin

Last Updated

17 May 2019

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 How to pronounce thin (audio) \
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

More from Merriam-Webster on thin

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with thin

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for thin

Spanish Central: Translation of thin

Nglish: Translation of thin for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of thin for Arabic Speakers

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

one that collects or salvages junk

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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!