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thin

[thin]
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adjective, thin·ner, thin·nest.
  1. having relatively little extent from one surface or side to the opposite; not thick: thin ice.
  2. of small cross section in comparison with the length; slender: a thin wire.
  3. having little flesh; spare; lean: a thin man.
  4. composed of or containing objects, particles, etc., widely separated; sparse: thin vegetation.
  5. scant; not abundant or plentiful.
  6. of relatively slight consistency or viscosity: thin soup.
  7. rarefied, as air.
  8. without solidity or substance; flimsy: a very thin plot for such a long book.
  9. lacking fullness or volume; weak and shrill: a thin voice.
  10. without force or a sincere effort: a thin smile.
  11. lacking body, richness, or strength: a thin wine.
  12. lacking in chroma; of light tint.
  13. Photography. (of a developed negative) lacking in density or contrast through underdevelopment or underexposure.
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adverb
  1. in a thin manner.
  2. sparsely; not densely.
  3. so as to produce something thin: Slice the ham thin.
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verb (used with object), thinned, thin·ning.
  1. to make thin or thinner (often followed by down, out, etc.).
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verb (used without object), thinned, thin·ning.
  1. to become thin or thinner; become reduced or diminished (often followed by down, out, off, etc.): The crowd is thinning out.
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Origin of thin

before 900; (adj. and adv.) Middle English thyn(ne), Old English thynne; cognate with Dutch dun, German dünn, Old Norse thunnr; (v.) Middle English thynnen, Old English thynnian, derivative of the adj.; compare Middle Dutch dunnen, Old Norse thynna; akin to Old Irish tana, Latin tenuis thin, Greek tany- long
Related formsthin·ly, adverbthin·ness, nouno·ver·thin, adjectiveo·ver·thin·ly, adverbo·ver·thin·ness, nounself-thin·ning, adjectivesu·per·thin, adjectiveun·thinned, adjectiveun·thin·ning, adjective

Synonyms

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3. slim, slender, skinny, lank, scrawny. Thin, gaunt, lean, spare agree in referring to one having little flesh. Thin applies often to one in an unnaturally reduced state, as from sickness, overwork, lack of food, or the like: a thin, dirty little waif. Gaunt suggests the angularity of bones prominently displayed in a thin face and body: to look ill and gaunt. Lean usually applies to a person or animal that is naturally thin: looking lean but healthy after an outdoor vacation. Spare implies a muscular leanness with no diminution of vitality: Lincoln was spare in body. 5. meager. 8. weak.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for thinning

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • She had a faded, washed-out look, and her hair was thinning out.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • “They are there,” said I, surveying from my vantage-ground the thinning ranks.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

  • The timber was being neglected, there was no thinning and no planting.

    The Nebuly Coat

    John Meade Falkner

  • Pruning a tree is a way of thinning the fruit and a good one.

    Apple Growing

    M. C. Burritt

  • The bank deposits were thinning, and the vein was thinning with it.

    The Cross-Cut

    Courtney Ryley Cooper


British Dictionary definitions for thinning

thin

adjective thinner or thinnest
  1. of relatively small extent from one side or surface to the other; fine or narrow
  2. slim or lean
  3. sparsely placed; meagrethin hair
  4. of relatively low density or viscositya thin liquid
  5. weak; poor; insufficienta thin disguise
  6. (of a photographic negative) having low density, usually insufficient to produce a satisfactory positive
  7. mountaineering a climb or pitch on which the holds are few and small
  8. thin on the ground few in number; scarce
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adverb
  1. in order to produce something thinto cut bread thin
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verb thins, thinning or thinned
  1. to make or become thin or sparse
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Derived Formsthinly, adverbthinness, noun

Word Origin

Old English thynne; related to Old Frisian thenne, Old Saxon, Old High German thunni, Old Norse thunnr, Latin tenuis thin, Greek teinein to stretch
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

Word Origin and History for thinning

thin

adj.

Old English þynne "narrow, lean, scanty," from Proto-Germanic *thunnuz, *thunw- (cf. West Frisian ten, Middle Low German dunne, Dutch dun, Old High German dunni, German dünn, Old Norse þunnr), from PIE *tnus-, *tnwi-, from weak grade of root *ten- "stretch" (cf. Latin tenuis "thin, slender;" see tenet).

These our actors ... were all Spirits, and Are melted into Ayre, into thin Ayre. [Shakespeare, "The Tempest," IV.i.150, 1610]

Thin-skinned is attested from 1590s; the figurative sense of "touchy" is from 1670s.

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thin

v.

Old English þynnian "to make thin" (cf. German dünnen, Dutch dunnen), from thin (adj.). Intransitive sense of "to become less numerous" is attested from 1743; that of "to become thinner" is recorded from 1804. Related: Thinned; thinning.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with thinning

thin

In addition to the idioms beginning with thin

also see:

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.