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

Examples from the Web for gauntness

Historical Examples of gauntness

  • Then she noticed the gauntness of his bronzed face and how lean he was.

    The Gold Trail

    Harold Bindloss

  • But his gauntness also made him look more like Pierre than ever before.


    Robert Shea

  • He was as tall as the pastor, and slender, but without the other's gauntness.

    The Uncalled

    Paul Laurence Dunbar

  • All this, however, was as nothing compared with the gauntness and emaciation of the man.

  • He was surprised at the size of these timber wolves and at their gauntness.

    On the Yukon Trail

    Roy J. Snell

British Dictionary definitions for gauntness



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 gauntness



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