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adjective, scrawn·i·er, scrawn·i·est.
  1. excessively thin; lean; scraggy: a long, scrawny neck.
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Origin of scrawny

1825–35, Americanism; variant of dial. scranny < Norwegian skran lean + -y1
Related formsscrawn·i·ly, adverbscrawn·i·ness, noun

Synonyms for scrawny

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Antonyms for scrawny

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for scrawny

skinny, lanky, bony, angular, gaunt, lean, rawboned, spare, underweight, lank, skeletal, scraggy, undernourished

Examples from the Web for scrawny

Contemporary Examples of scrawny

Historical Examples of scrawny

  • I conceived a contempt for that shaven, scrawny skipper––I remember it well.

  • Debby Alden at twenty-five had been scrawny, hard-featured and severe.

  • She was scrawny and flat-chested, but agile as a boy when occasion demanded.

    The Eagle's Heart

    Hamlin Garland

  • "It would have a better chance for its life if it were lean and scrawny," said Mr. Morris.

    Beautiful Joe

    Marshall Saunders

  • They're double, you see, and don't look like the scrawny things you see in this country.

British Dictionary definitions for scrawny


adjective scrawnier or scrawniest
  1. very thin and bony; scraggy
  2. meagre or stuntedscrawny vegetation
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Derived Formsscrawnily, adverbscrawniness, noun

Word Origin for scrawny

C19: variant of dialect scranny; see scrannel
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 scrawny


1824, apparently a dialectal variant of scranny "lean, thin" (1820), which is of uncertain origin but probably from a Scandinavian source, perhaps Old Norse skrælna "to shrivel." Cf. scrannel.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper