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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

Examples from the Web for scantling

Historical Examples

  • 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

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