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[skant-ling] /ˈskænt lɪŋ/
a timber of relatively slight width and thickness, as a stud or rafter in a house frame.
such timbers collectively.
the width and thickness of a timber.
the dimensions of a building stone.
  1. a dressed timber or rolled metal member used as a framing member in a vessel.
  2. the dimension, in cross section, of a framing member.
a small quantity or amount.
Origin of scantling
1520-30; scant + -ling1; replacing Middle English scantilon < Old French escantillon gauge Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for scantlings
Historical Examples
  • There was only the churned water, filled with scantlings and torn branches of trees.

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • Let no one laugh at the character of many of these 'scantlings.'

  • It will send up the price of scantlings, and we was getting on too fast with them.

    Erema R. D. Blackmore
  • The sides of it are scantlings and the steps are narrow boards.

  • The house, which he owns, is a small shack or shanty constructed of scantlings and slabs.

  • I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber and deposited all between the scantlings.

  • Between the scantlings that penned Simon into his part of the lean-to, the section-boss spied two glowing eyes.

    The Plow-Woman Eleanor Gates
  • She wondered whether she would ever like a plastered room as well as this one lined with scantlings.

    Song of the Lark Willa Cather
  • About all the timber required to erect one of these houses is for joists, scantlings, and doors.

  • Nor would you consider it an occasion for especial jollification the day you erected the scantlings around the first floor joists.

    Certain Success Norval A. Hawkins
British Dictionary definitions for scantlings


plural noun
the structural casings of the internal gas paths in an aeroengine


a piece of sawn timber, such as a rafter, that has a small cross section
the dimensions of a piece of building material or the structural parts of a ship, esp those in cross section
a building stone, esp one that is more than 6 feet in length
a small quantity or amount
Word Origin
C16: changed (through influence of scant and -ling1) from earlier scantillon, a carpenter's gauge, from Old Norman French escantillon, ultimately from Latin scandere to climb; see scan
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 scantlings



1520s, "measured or prescribed size," altered from scantlon, scantiloun "dimension" (c.1400), earlier a type of mason's tool for measuring thickness (c.1300), a shortening of Old French escantillon (Modern French échantillon "sample pattern"), of uncertain origin; perhaps ultimately from Latin scandere "to climb" (see scan (v.)). Sense influenced by scant. Meaning "small wooden beam" is 1660s. Related: Scantlings.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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