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See more synonyms for scantling on Thesaurus.com
  1. a timber of relatively slight width and thickness, as a stud or rafter in a house frame.
  2. such timbers collectively.
  3. the width and thickness of a timber.
  4. the dimensions of a building stone.
  5. Nautical.
    1. a dressed timber or rolled metal member used as a framing member in a vessel.
    2. the dimension, in cross section, of a framing member.
  6. a small quantity or amount.
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Origin of scantling

1520–30; scant + -ling1; replacing Middle English scantilon < Old French escantillon gauge
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for scantling

girder, scaffolding, joist, shaft, pillar, pole, plank, timber, sill, strip, bail, bolster, stanchion, prop, trestle, pile, boom, stud, spar

Examples from the Web for scantling

Historical Examples of scantling

  • By the aid of a scantling I managed to get up onto the high brick wall.

    With Fire and Sword

    Samuel H. M. Byers

  • Then came the hurdle-race, with the hurdles woven from cedar and scantling.

  • Look out there, Jerry, or that piece of scantling will be down on your head!

  • Only her scantling and her tonnage unfitted her for frigate-service.

    The Maid of Sker

    Richard Doddridge Blackmore

  • The scantling of the hatch-cover that secured them was of unusual thickness.

British Dictionary definitions for scantling


  1. a piece of sawn timber, such as a rafter, that has a small cross section
  2. the dimensions of a piece of building material or the structural parts of a ship, esp those in cross section
  3. a building stone, esp one that is more than 6 feet in length
  4. a small quantity or amount
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Word Origin for scantling

C16: changed (through influence of scant and -ling 1) from earlier scantillon, a carpenter's gauge, from Old Norman French escantillon, ultimately from Latin scandere to climb; see scan
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 scantling


1520s, "measured or prescribed size," altered from scantlon, scantiloun "dimension" (c.1400), earlier a type of mason's tool for measuring thickness (c.1300), a shortening of Old French escantillon (Modern French échantillon "sample pattern"), of uncertain origin; perhaps ultimately from Latin scandere "to climb" (see scan (v.)). Sense influenced by scant. Meaning "small wooden beam" is 1660s. Related: Scantlings.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper