adjective, scant·i·er, scant·i·est.

scant in amount, quantity, etc.; barely sufficient.
meager; not adequate.
lacking amplitude in extent or compass.

noun, plural scant·ies.

scanties, very brief underpants, especially for women.

Origin of scanty

1650–60; scant + -y1; (def 4) blend of scanty and panties
Related formsscant·i·ly, adverbscant·i·ness, nounun·scant·y, adjective

Synonyms for scanty

1, 2. Scanty, meager, sparse refer to insufficiency or deficiency in quantity, number, etc. Scanty denotes smallness or insufficiency of quantity, number, supply, etc.: a scanty supply of food. Meager indicates that something is poor, stinted, or inadequate: meager fare; a meager income. Sparse applies particularly to that which grows thinly or is thinly strewn or sown, often over a wide area: sparse vegetation; a sparse population.

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

Examples from the Web for scantily

Contemporary Examples of scantily

Historical Examples of scantily

  • Scantily furnished, and with a waxed floor, it opened into one of the side-verandas.

    End of the Tether

    Joseph Conrad

  • They were scantily furnished, and of comforts there were none.

    The Crooked House

    Brandon Fleming

  • The bothy was but scantily furnished, though it consisted of two rooms.

    Auld Licht Idylls

    J. M. Barrie

  • All who lived with her, though well-dressed, were scantily fed and over-worked.


    William Wells Brown

  • We tore off parts of the clothes from our scantily clad bodies.

    Land of the Burnt Thigh

    Edith Eudora Kohl

British Dictionary definitions for scantily


adjective scantier or scantiest

limited; barely enough; meagre
insufficient; inadequate
lacking fullness; small
Derived Formsscantily, adverbscantiness, noun
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 scantily

1774; see scanty + -ly (2).



1650s, "meager, barely sufficient for use;" 1701, "too small, limited in scope," from scant + -y (2). Related: Scantiness (1560s). Scanties (n.) "underwear" (especially for women) attested from 1928.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper