[ skran-l ]
/ ˈskræn l /

adjective Archaic.

thin or slight.
squeaky or unmelodious.

Origin of scrannel

First recorded in 1630–40; origin uncertain Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for scrannel

  • The shell they struck gave a more melodious sound than the rough and scrannel pipe cut from the northern forests.

  • Suspicion, take it all in all, is the most tedious and scrannel of the sins.

British Dictionary definitions for scrannel


/ (ˈskrænəl) /

adjective archaic


Word Origin for scrannel

C17: probably from Norwegian skran lean. Compare scrawny
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 scrannel



"thin, meager," 1630s; any modern use traces to Milton ("Lycidas," 124), who may have invented it out of dialectal scranny (see scrawny). Or it might be from a Scandinavian source akin to Norwegian skran "rubbish." Cf. English dialectal and Scottish skran "scraps, broken victuals; refuse," in military slang "food."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper