Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective scrawny contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of scrawny are gaunt, lanky, lank, lean, rawboned, skinny, and spare. While all these words mean "thin because of an absence of excess flesh," scrawny and skinny imply an extreme leanness that suggests deficient strength and vitality.

a scrawny chicken
skinny street urchins

When could gaunt be used to replace scrawny?

The words gaunt and scrawny can be used in similar contexts, but gaunt implies marked thinness or emaciation as from overwork or suffering.

a prisoner's gaunt face

When is lank a more appropriate choice than scrawny?

Although the words lank and scrawny have much in common, lank implies tallness as well as leanness.

the lank legs of the heron

In what contexts can lanky take the place of scrawny?

The synonyms lanky and scrawny are sometimes interchangeable, but lanky suggests awkwardness and loose-jointedness as well as thinness.

a lanky youth, all arms and legs

When is it sensible to use lean instead of scrawny?

While the synonyms lean and scrawny are close in meaning, lean stresses lack of fat and of curving contours.

a lean racehorse

When might rawboned be a better fit than scrawny?

While in some cases nearly identical to scrawny, rawboned suggests a large ungainly build without implying undernourishment.

a rawboned farmer

When can spare be used instead of scrawny?

In some situations, the words spare and scrawny are roughly equivalent. However, spare suggests leanness from abstemious living or constant exercise.

the gymnast's spare figure

Thesaurus Entries Near scrawny

Cite this Entry

“Scrawny.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

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