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[skan-tee] /ˈskæn ti/
adjective, scantier, scantiest.
scant in amount, quantity, etc.; barely sufficient.
meager; not adequate.
lacking amplitude in extent or compass.
noun, plural scanties.
scanties, very brief underpants, especially for women.
Origin of scanty
1650-60; scant + -y1; (def 4) blend of scanty and panties
Related forms
scantily, adverb
scantiness, noun
unscanty, adjective
1, 2. Scanty, meager, sparse refer to insufficiency or deficiency in quantity, number, etc. Scanty denotes smallness or insufficiency of quantity, number, supply, etc.: a scanty supply of food. Meager indicates that something is poor, stinted, or inadequate: meager fare; a meager income. Sparse applies particularly to that which grows thinly or is thinly strewn or sown, often over a wide area: sparse vegetation; a sparse population.
1, 2. plentiful, ample. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for scantily
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • scantily furnished, and with a waxed floor, it opened into one of the side-verandas.

    End of the Tether Joseph Conrad
  • They were scantily furnished, and of comforts there were none.

    The Crooked House

    Brandon Fleming
  • The bothy was but scantily furnished, though it consisted of two rooms.

    Auld Licht Idylls

    J. M. Barrie
  • All who lived with her, though well-dressed, were scantily fed and over-worked.

    Clotelle William Wells Brown
  • We tore off parts of the clothes from our scantily clad bodies.

    Land of the Burnt Thigh

    Edith Eudora Kohl
British Dictionary definitions for scantily


adjective scantier, scantiest
limited; barely enough; meagre
insufficient; inadequate
lacking fullness; small
Derived Forms
scantily, adverb
scantiness, noun
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 scantily

1774; see scanty + -ly (2).



1650s, "meager, barely sufficient for use;" 1701, "too small, limited in scope," from scant + -y (2). Related: Scantiness (1560s). Scanties (n.) "underwear" (especially for women) attested from 1928.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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