adjective, mea·sli·er, mea·sli·est.

  1. contemptibly small, meager, or slight: They paid me a measly fifteen dollars for a day's work.
  2. wretchedly bad or unsatisfactory: a measly performance.
infected with measles, as an animal or its flesh.
pertaining to or resembling measles.

Nearby words

  1. measles,
  2. measles immune globulin,
  3. measles virus,
  4. measles virus vaccine,
  5. measles, mumps, rubella vaccine,
  6. measurability,
  7. measurable,
  8. measure,
  9. measure for measure,
  10. measure of central tendency

Origin of measly

First recorded in 1680–90; measl(es) + -y1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for measly

British Dictionary definitions for measly


adjective -slier or -sliest

informal meagre in quality or quantity
(of meat) measled
having or relating to measles

Word Origin for measly

C17: see measles

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 measly



"affected with measles," 1680s, from measle (see measles) + -y (2); sense of "meager and contemptible" first recorded 1864 in British slang.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper