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

In an airy Denver cafe populated almost entirely by young people staring at laptops, Travis Tyler Fluck—dressed in an orange velour jacket, over which is draped a thin braided lock of hair—takes out his phone and pulls up Craigslist. Matt Simon, WIRED, "The Heady, Thorny Journey to Decriminalize Magic Mushrooms," 10 June 2019 Just as Hallmark invented Valentine’s Day out of thin air to sell cards and candy, ensuring that housewarmings become a major gift-giving occasion has the potential to drive significant profits. Cait Munro, refinery29.com, "Guess What? You Don’t Have To Get Married To Register For Gifts," 10 June 2019 Currently, most of the New York Subway turnstiles only accept the MetroCard a thin, single-purpose, magnetic-striped piece of plastic. Daniel Wolfe, Quartz, "How much free NYC subway rides will cost Mastercard," 8 June 2019 Broken glass and thin plastic bags can wreak havoc on sorting equipment, while aluminum foil is very difficult to sort out, Fisher said. Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "How recycling works in Anchorage: Most of it ends up in the Lower 48," 7 June 2019 KDB’s patience has worn thin as HMM’s losses mount, with liabilities expected to hit $2.9 billion next year. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, "Today’s Logistics Report: Freight’s Bigger Value; Choppy Container Waters; Tracking Food Supplies," 22 Feb. 2019 At this altitude, the cell phone signal is about as thin as the air to begin with. Chioma Nnadi, Vogue, "Can the New Hermès Apple Watch Actually Help You Unplug?," 19 Nov. 2018 The tiny editions are the size of a cellphone and no thicker than your thumb, with paper as thin as onion skin. Constance Grady, Vox, "The time has come to choose the Oddest Book Title of the Year," 3 Nov. 2018 But there’s also a chance that new iPad Pro doesn’t have bezels quite as thin as the iPhone X, which may leave Apple engineers room to fit the module into the bezel itself. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Apple’s next iPad Pro will have tiny bezels, but no notch," 1 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And the heavy cream helps by thinning the sour cream to a drizzleable consistency. Adam Rapoport, Bon Appétit, "These Strawberry Shortcakes Have Only 10 Ingredients," 11 June 2019 ActBlue’s main offices are in Somerville, Massachusetts, where Boston’s urban core starts to thin out into its suburbs. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, "Why Famous, Powerful Presidential Candidates Are Begging You for Five Dollars," 10 June 2019 Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Ann Johnson said some flights had been canceled early, thinning out the schedule so remaining flights could depart on time. Paige Cornwell, The Seattle Times, "Fresh snow arrives in Seattle, closing region’s schools again," 11 Feb. 2019 So with some air-traffic controllers staying home, delays and cancellations may be less frequent when skies are already thinned out. Scott Mccartney, WSJ, "What Fliers Should Keep in Mind as the Shutdown Pauses," 25 Jan. 2019 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

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

14 Jun 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

standardized text or formulaic language

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!