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See more synonyms for meager on Thesaurus.com
  1. deficient in quantity or quality; lacking fullness or richness; scanty; inadequate: a meager salary; meager fare; a meager harvest.
  2. having little flesh; lean; thin: a body meager with hunger.
  3. maigre.
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Also especially British, mea·gre.

Origin of meager

1300–50; Middle English megre < Old French maigre < Latin macer lean
Related formsmea·ger·ly, adverbmea·ger·ness, noun


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1. See scanty. 2. gaunt, spare, skinny.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for meagerly

Historical Examples

  • In the evening he complimented Alfred meagerly on his proficiency as a whip.

    Watch Yourself Go By

    Al. G. Field

  • There were several forts in the Indian country, but they were meagerly garrisoned.

    Four American Indians

    Edson L. Whitney

  • It was a tiny room, whitewashed; meagerly and nondescriptly furnished.

    Out of the Air

    Inez Haynes Irwin

  • The Romans were perhaps the first who introduced that art into Britain, meagerly as they did introduce it.

  • They found nothing but two meagerly furnished houses, apparently recently deserted.

    Motor Matt's Air Ship

    Stanley R. Matthews

Word Origin and History for meagerly


also meagrely, 1580s, from meager + -ly (2).

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late 14c. (late 12c. as a surname), "lean, thin, emaciated" (of persons or animals), from Old French megre, maigre "thin" (12c.), from Latin macrum (nominative macer) "lean, thin" (source of Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian magro), from PIE *makro- (see macro-). Of material things (land, food, etc.) from early 15c. Cognate Germanic words (Old Norse magr "thin," Old High German magar, German mager, Middle Dutch magher, Dutch mager, Old English mæger) come directly from the PIE root via Proto-Germanic *magras and are not from Latin.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper