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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for gaunt
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Wilma followed a few feet above me, then Barker, gaunt and Blash.

    Armageddon--2419 A.D. Philip Francis Nowlan
  • For the first time in her life she saw in its gaunt lines the shadow of despair.

    The Root of Evil Thomas Dixon
  • It is drawn by a team of gaunt mules, usually six in number, with gay harness, and each animal has jangling bells around its neck.

    Things seen in Spain C. Gasquoine Hartley
  • At the very gate he met a gaunt figure riding in on a squab pony.

    White Lies Charles Reade
  • The old soldier ambled up the village street, all shadowy in the dawn, on a gaunt, scissor-hocked pony.

    Kim Rudyard Kipling
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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