meager

adjective
mea·​ger | \ ˈmē-gər How to pronounce meager (audio) \
variants: or meagre

Definition of meager

1 : having little flesh : thin meager were his looks, sharp misery had worn him to the bones— William Shakespeare
2a : lacking desirable qualities (such as richness or strength) leading a meager life
b : deficient in quality or quantity a meager diet

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Other Words from meager

meagerly adverb
meagerness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for meager

meager, scanty, scant, skimpy, spare, sparse mean falling short of what is normal, necessary, or desirable. meager implies the absence of elements, qualities, or numbers necessary to a thing's richness, substance, or potency. a meager portion of meat scanty stresses insufficiency in amount, quantity, or extent. supplies too scanty to last the winter scant suggests a falling short of what is desired or desirable rather than of what is essential. in January the daylight hours are scant skimpy usually suggests niggardliness or penury as the cause of the deficiency. tacky housing developments on skimpy lots spare may suggest a slight falling short of adequacy or merely an absence of superfluity. a spare, concise style of writing sparse implies a thin scattering of units. a sparse population

Examples of meager in a Sentence

Every morning he eats a meager breakfast of toast and coffee. We'll have to do the best we can with this year's meager harvest. She came to this country with a fairly meager English vocabulary, but she is learning more words every day. They suffered through several meager years at the beginning of their marriage. Although she's now rich and famous, she remembers her meager beginnings as a child from a poor family.
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Recent Examples on the Web Ware has worked in childcare ever since her oldest daughter was born, but the pay is meager. Bryce Covert, The New Republic, 12 Oct. 2021 So far, the clean-tech focus on biodiversity has been meager, Cohen suggested at a talk hosted by Greentown Labs and the American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact. Jeff Mcmahon, Forbes, 1 Oct. 2021 But these funds are not always accessible, and reimbursement is typically meager. Eleanor Cummins, Wired, 1 Oct. 2021 Progressives had argued the bipartisan infrastructure package was meager. Lauren Fox, CNN, 13 Sep. 2021 If the community pooled its meager resources, maybe that would be enough for its kids. New York Times, 7 Sep. 2021 Some say that college basketball was a lesser sport in Wooden’s days, beset by meager resources and fewer schools dedicated to winning. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 9 June 2021 Amazon merchants, who account for 60 percent of sales on the website, are betting cash-rich consumers will overlook the more meager bargains and still swarm Prime Day. BostonGlobe.com, 21 June 2021 What limits will be in place to prevent resource-rich schools from lording their wealth over those with more meager means, deepening the chasm between the haves and the have-nots? Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 21 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'meager.' 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 meager

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for meager

Middle English megre "thin, having little flesh from lack of food," borrowed from Anglo-French megre, maigre, going back to Latin macr-, macer "thin, lean, of little substance," going back to Indo-European *mh2ḱ-ro- "long, thin," whence also Germanic *magra- "lean" (whence Old English mæger "lean," Old High German magar, Old Norse magr), Greek makrós "long, tall, high, large"; derivative in *-ro-, adjective suffix, of a base *meh2ḱ-, *mh2ḱ- seen also in Latin maciēs "bodily thinness, wasting," Greek mêkos "length," mḗkistos "longest, highest," Avestan masah- "length, greatness," masišta- "highest," Hittite maklant- "thin, slim (of animals)"

Note: Alternatively from Indo-European *maḱ- if a is accepted as a vowel, as the laryngeal h2 is invoked solely to produce the right vocalism.

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Time Traveler for meager

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The first known use of meager was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near meager

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Last Updated

16 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Meager.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meager. Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for meager

meager

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of meager

: very small or too small in amount
: not having enough of something (such as money or food) for comfort or happiness

meager

adjective
mea·​ger
variants: or meagre \ ˈmē-​gər \

Kids Definition of meager

1 : not enough in quality or amount a meager income
2 : having little flesh : thin

More from Merriam-Webster on meager

Nglish: Translation of meager for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of meager for Arabic Speakers

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