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[skraw-nee] /ˈskrɔ ni/
adjective, scrawnier, scrawniest.
excessively thin; lean; scraggy:
a long, scrawny neck.
Origin of scrawny
1825-35, Americanism; variant of dial. scranny < Norwegian skran lean + -y1
Related forms
scrawnily, adverb
scrawniness, noun
gaunt, emaciated.
fleshy, plump. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for scrawny
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I conceived a contempt for that shaven, scrawny skipper––I remember it well.

  • Debby Alden at twenty-five had been scrawny, hard-featured and severe.

    Hester's Counterpart Jean K. Baird
  • She was scrawny and flat-chested, but agile as a boy when occasion demanded.

    The Eagle's Heart Hamlin Garland
  • "It would have a better chance for its life if it were lean and scrawny," said Mr. Morris.

    Beautiful Joe Marshall Saunders
  • They're double, you see, and don't look like the scrawny things you see in this country.

    Mr. Crewe's Career, Complete Winston Churchill
  • There had been but the one scrawny horse before our arrival.

    The Crossing Winston Churchill
British Dictionary definitions for scrawny


adjective scrawnier, scrawniest
very thin and bony; scraggy
meagre or stunted: scrawny vegetation
Derived Forms
scrawnily, adverb
scrawniness, noun
Word Origin
C19: variant of dialect scranny; see scrannel
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 scrawny

1824, apparently a dialectal variant of scranny "lean, thin" (1820), which is of uncertain origin but probably from a Scandinavian source, perhaps Old Norse skrælna "to shrivel." Cf. scrannel.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for scrawny



Lean; bony; scraggy, skinny (1833+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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