adjective, gaunt·er, gaunt·est.

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 formsgaunt·ly, adverbgaunt·ness, noun

Synonyms for gaunt

Antonyms for gaunt

1. stout.


[gawnt, gahnt]


John of. John of Gaunt. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gaunt

Contemporary Examples of gaunt

Historical Examples of gaunt

  • Her long, gaunt fingers pulled and worked at the knots, but all in vain.

  • He was tall and gaunt, and his deeply graven face was framed by grizzled hair.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • The other three seniors, attracted by the scene, came back, and waited with Gaunt.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • And Gaunt, who was standing by, and knew it also, telegraphed a significant look to Huntley.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • It was simply a bare, gaunt, famished skeleton, slaying his way along.

British Dictionary definitions for gaunt



bony and emaciated in appearance
(of places) bleak or desolate
Derived Formsgauntly, adverbgauntness, noun

Word Origin for gaunt

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

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