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[gawnt] /gɔnt/
adjective, gaunter, gauntest.
extremely thin and bony; haggard and drawn, as from great hunger, weariness, or torture; emaciated.
bleak, desolate, or grim, as places or things:
a gaunt, windswept landscape.
Origin of gaunt
1400-50; late Middle English, probably < Old French gaunet, jaunet yellowish, derivative of gaune, jaune yellow < Latin galbinus greenish-yellow
Related forms
gauntly, adverb
gauntness, noun
1. lean, spare, scrawny, lank, angular, rawboned. See thin.
1. stout.


[gawnt, gahnt] /gɔnt, gɑnt/
John of, John of Gaunt. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for gaunt
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Her long, gaunt fingers pulled and worked at the knots, but all in vain.

  • He was tall and gaunt, and his deeply graven face was framed by grizzled hair.

    Tiverton Tales Alice Brown
  • The other three seniors, attracted by the scene, came back, and waited with gaunt.

    The Channings Mrs. Henry Wood
  • And gaunt, who was standing by, and knew it also, telegraphed a significant look to Huntley.

    The Channings Mrs. Henry Wood
  • It was simply a bare, gaunt, famished skeleton, slaying his way along.

    The Uncommercial Traveller Charles Dickens
British Dictionary definitions for gaunt


bony and emaciated in appearance
(of places) bleak or desolate
Derived Forms
gauntly, adverb
gauntness, noun
Word Origin
C15: perhaps of Scandinavian origin; compare Norwegian dialect gand tall lean person
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for gaunt

mid-15c. (as a surname from mid-13c.), from Middle French gant, of uncertain origin; perhaps from a Scandinavian source (cf. Old Norse gand "a thin stick," also "a tall thin man") and somehow connected with the root of gander. Connection also has been suggested to Old French jaunet "yellowish" [Middle English Dictionary].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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