Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

thin

[thin]
adjective, thin·ner, thin·nest.
  1. having relatively little extent from one surface or side to the opposite; not thick: thin ice.
  2. of small cross section in comparison with the length; slender: a thin wire.
  3. having little flesh; spare; lean: a thin man.
  4. composed of or containing objects, particles, etc., widely separated; sparse: thin vegetation.
  5. scant; not abundant or plentiful.
  6. of relatively slight consistency or viscosity: thin soup.
  7. rarefied, as air.
  8. without solidity or substance; flimsy: a very thin plot for such a long book.
  9. lacking fullness or volume; weak and shrill: a thin voice.
  10. without force or a sincere effort: a thin smile.
  11. lacking body, richness, or strength: a thin wine.
  12. lacking in chroma; of light tint.
  13. Photography. (of a developed negative) lacking in density or contrast through underdevelopment or underexposure.
Show More
adverb
  1. in a thin manner.
  2. sparsely; not densely.
  3. so as to produce something thin: Slice the ham thin.
Show More
verb (used with object), thinned, thin·ning.
  1. to make thin or thinner (often followed by down, out, etc.).
Show More
verb (used without object), thinned, thin·ning.
  1. to become thin or thinner; become reduced or diminished (often followed by down, out, off, etc.): The crowd is thinning out.
Show More

Origin of thin

before 900; (adj. and adv.) Middle English thyn(ne), Old English thynne; cognate with Dutch dun, German dünn, Old Norse thunnr; (v.) Middle English thynnen, Old English thynnian, derivative of the adj.; compare Middle Dutch dunnen, Old Norse thynna; akin to Old Irish tana, Latin tenuis thin, Greek tany- long
Related formsthin·ly, adverbthin·ness, nouno·ver·thin, adjectiveo·ver·thin·ly, adverbo·ver·thin·ness, nounself-thin·ning, adjectivesu·per·thin, adjectiveun·thinned, adjectiveun·thin·ning, adjective

Synonyms

3. slim, slender, skinny, lank, scrawny. Thin, gaunt, lean, spare agree in referring to one having little flesh. Thin applies often to one in an unnaturally reduced state, as from sickness, overwork, lack of food, or the like: a thin, dirty little waif. Gaunt suggests the angularity of bones prominently displayed in a thin face and body: to look ill and gaunt. Lean usually applies to a person or animal that is naturally thin: looking lean but healthy after an outdoor vacation. Spare implies a muscular leanness with no diminution of vitality: Lincoln was spare in body. 5. meager. 8. weak.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for self-thinning

Historical Examples

  • By the time lodge-poles are sixty years of age their self-thinning has made openings in their crowded ranks.

    The Rocky Mountain Wonderland

    Enos A. Mills


British Dictionary definitions for self-thinning

thin

adjective thinner or thinnest
  1. of relatively small extent from one side or surface to the other; fine or narrow
  2. slim or lean
  3. sparsely placed; meagrethin hair
  4. of relatively low density or viscositya thin liquid
  5. weak; poor; insufficienta thin disguise
  6. (of a photographic negative) having low density, usually insufficient to produce a satisfactory positive
  7. mountaineering a climb or pitch on which the holds are few and small
  8. thin on the ground few in number; scarce
Show More
adverb
  1. in order to produce something thinto cut bread thin
Show More
verb thins, thinning or thinned
  1. to make or become thin or sparse
Show More
Derived Formsthinly, adverbthinness, noun

Word Origin

Old English thynne; related to Old Frisian thenne, Old Saxon, Old High German thunni, Old Norse thunnr, Latin tenuis thin, Greek teinein to stretch
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 self-thinning

thin

adj.

Old English þynne "narrow, lean, scanty," from Proto-Germanic *thunnuz, *thunw- (cf. West Frisian ten, Middle Low German dunne, Dutch dun, Old High German dunni, German dünn, Old Norse þunnr), from PIE *tnus-, *tnwi-, from weak grade of root *ten- "stretch" (cf. Latin tenuis "thin, slender;" see tenet).

These our actors ... were all Spirits, and Are melted into Ayre, into thin Ayre. [Shakespeare, "The Tempest," IV.i.150, 1610]

Thin-skinned is attested from 1590s; the figurative sense of "touchy" is from 1670s.

Show More

thin

v.

Old English þynnian "to make thin" (cf. German dünnen, Dutch dunnen), from thin (adj.). Intransitive sense of "to become less numerous" is attested from 1743; that of "to become thinner" is recorded from 1804. Related: Thinned; thinning.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with self-thinning

thin

In addition to the idioms beginning with thin

  • thin as a rail
  • thin edge of the wedge
  • thing or two
  • things are looking up
  • thin on top

also see:

  • into thin air
  • on thin ice
  • spread oneself too thin
  • through thick and thin
  • wear thin
Show More
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.