[ skimp ]
/ skɪmp /
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See synonyms for: skimp / skimper / skimpest / skimping on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object)
to scrimp.
verb (used with object)
to scrimp.
to scamp.
skimpy; scanty.
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Origin of skimp

First recorded in 1875–80; origin uncertain


skimp·ing·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does skimp mean?

Skimp most commonly means to provide too little or be stingy when supplying someone with something, as in This place always skimps on the salad dressing, so I usually order some extra on the side. 

The word is often used in the command don’t skimp, which is a request not to provide an amount that the speaker considers inadequate, as in Hey, don’t skimp on the ice cream—I want a big scoop!

To skimp on materials when making or constructing something is to use ones that are low-quality or to use fewer than are needed to do the job properly.

Skimp is a synonym of scrimp, but scrimp most commonly means to be frugal by finding ways to avoid spending money. It’s especially used in the phrase scrimp and save, as in We had to scrimp and save just to afford this trip. 

The adjective skimpy can mean stingy or lacking in some way. It’s especially used to describe an outfit that’s considered a bit revealing due to not covering as much as might be usual.

Example: Don’t skimp on the butter when you make the cookies or they’ll turn out dry and brittle.

Where does skimp come from?

The first records of the word skimp come from the 1870s. It may come from a combination of scant and scrimp, but its origin is uncertain.

Skimp is perhaps most commonly used in the context of not getting as much as we want when ordering food. You might say that a restaurant skimps on their portions, or that whoever made the food skimped on a certain ingredient, as in I know you want to make the recipe healthier, but if you skimp on the salt, it will turn out bland. 

When the word is used in the context of building or making something, skimp often implies a lack of quality in the materials or that someone has cut corners.

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What are some other forms related to skimp?

  • skimpy (adjective)
  • skimpingly (adjective)

What are some synonyms for skimp?

What are some words that often get used in discussing skimp?


How is skimp used in real life?

Skimp is usually used in negative contexts, though usually ones that are not too serious. It’s often used when people complain that they haven’t been given enough of something, especially food that they’ve ordered.



Try using skimp!

True or False? 

If you say that someone skimped on something, it usually means that they didn’t provide as much of it as you wanted.

How to use skimp in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for skimp

/ (skɪmp) /

to be extremely sparing or supply (someone) sparingly; stint
to perform (work, etc) carelessly, hastily, or with inadequate materials

Word Origin for skimp

C17: perhaps a combination of scant and scrimp
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