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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

need, scantiness, poverty, scarcity, aridity, flatness, tedium, monotony, boredom, sameness

Examples from the Web for meagerness

Historical Examples

  • Meagerness of information; qualities of commander to be relied upon.

    Manual of Military Training

    James A. Moss

  • The peculiar characteristic of the child's vocabulary is its meagerness.

  • It was evident that the trio were disappointed in the meagerness of his story.

    The Rest Hollow Mystery

    Rebecca N. Porter

  • There was no reason now why he should continue the meagerness of their present life.

    The Woman Gives

    Owen Johnson

  • The meagerness of their clothing is one of the tokens of their sanctity.

    From Egypt to Japan

    Henry M. Field

Word Origin and History for meagerness


also meagreness, early 15c., from meager + -ness.

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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