Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective gaunt contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of gaunt are lanky, lank, lean, rawboned, scrawny, skinny, and spare. While all these words mean "thin because of an absence of excess flesh," gaunt implies marked thinness or emaciation as from overwork or suffering.

a prisoner's gaunt face

When is lank a more appropriate choice than gaunt?

The words lank and gaunt are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, lank implies tallness as well as leanness.

the lank legs of the heron

When is it sensible to use lanky instead of gaunt?

In some situations, the words lanky and gaunt are roughly equivalent. However, lanky suggests awkwardness and loose-jointedness as well as thinness.

a lanky youth, all arms and legs

When could lean be used to replace gaunt?

While in some cases nearly identical to gaunt, lean stresses lack of fat and of curving contours.

a lean racehorse

In what contexts can rawboned take the place of gaunt?

Although the words rawboned and gaunt have much in common, rawboned suggests a large ungainly build without implying undernourishment.

a rawboned farmer

How do scrawny and skinny relate to one another, in the sense of gaunt?

Both scrawny and skinny imply an extreme leanness that suggests deficient strength and vitality.

a scrawny chicken
skinny street urchins

Where would spare be a reasonable alternative to gaunt?

The synonyms spare and gaunt are sometimes interchangeable, but spare suggests leanness from abstemious living or constant exercise.

the gymnast's spare figure

Thesaurus Entries Near gaunt

Cite this Entry

“Gaunt.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on gaunt

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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