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

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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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 These photoreceptors are located in the retina, a thin layer in the back of the eye. Caren Chesler, Popular Mechanics, "A Vision Quest," 6 Mar. 2019 Sure enough, inside the drum was a thin layer of something dark and slimy: mold. Jenny Marder, The Seattle Times, "There’s mold in your kids’ bath toys (and that’s probably OK)," 12 Feb. 2019 Then the specialist will prep the area, cleaning the brows and applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly around them to prevent any accidental skin staining. Audrey Noble, Harper's BAZAAR, "What is Eyebrow Tinting, Anyway?," 1 Feb. 2019 But each of us carries a miniature chemistry lab deep inside our nose, in the form of sensing cells coated in a thin layer of mucus. Helen Czerski, WSJ, "Wintry Scents, Indoors and Out," 20 Dec. 2018 The drawing is at least 40,000 years old, based on uranium-series dating of a thin layer of rock deposited on top of the drawing since its creation. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "The world’s oldest figurative drawing depicts a wounded animal," 9 Nov. 2018 Simply rub a thin layer on before bed, and rinse off in the shower the next morning. Erin Florio, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Korean Beauty Products We Can't Travel Without," 21 Aug. 2018 The two-tone design looks good, the ripstop nylon is lightweight but durable, and the thin layer of Polartec Alpha insulation works wonders on cool summer evenings. Ben Fox, Outside Online, "Four Pieces We Love from Stio's Summer Collection," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 The shelves have also thinned due to our warming planet, scientists think. Jen Christensen, CNN, "Scientists lay out how to save a melting Antarctica -- and the grim future if we don't," 13 June 2018 Online shopping may have thinned the once-rampant Black Friday crowds, but Black Friday isn’t going anywhere yet. Gaby Del Valle, Vox, "Black Friday is longer, and tamer, than ever," 20 Nov. 2018 Her departure thins the ranks of female CEOs running S&P 500 companies and comes at a time when Pepsi’s North American beverage unit is stagnating amid a general decline in soda consumption. Craig Giammona, The Seattle Times, "Pepsi’s first female CEO to end 12-year run, replaced by insider," 6 Aug. 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.

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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

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Statistics for thin

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for thin

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

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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.

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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

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