View synonyms for thin


[ thin ]


, 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.

    Synonyms: scrawny, lank, skinny, slender, slim

  4. composed of or containing objects, particles, etc., widely separated; sparse:

    thin vegetation.

  5. scant; not abundant or plentiful.

    Synonyms: meager

  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.

    Synonyms: weak

  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.


  1. in a thin manner.
  2. sparsely; not densely.
  3. so as to produce something thin:

    Slice the ham thin.

verb (used with object)

, thinned, thin·ning.
  1. to make thin or thinner (often followed by down, out, etc.).

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.


/ θɪn /


  1. of relatively small extent from one side or surface to the other; fine or narrow
  2. slim or lean
  3. sparsely placed; meagre

    thin hair

  4. of relatively low density or viscosity

    a thin liquid

  5. weak; poor; insufficient

    a 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
    thin on the ground few in number; scarce


  1. in order to produce something thin

    to cut bread thin


  1. to make or become thin or sparse

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Derived Forms

  • ˈthinness, noun
  • ˈthinly, adverb

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Other Words From

  • thinly adverb
  • thinness noun
  • over·thin adjective
  • over·thinly adverb
  • over·thinness noun
  • self-thinning adjective
  • super·thin adjective
  • un·thinned adjective
  • un·thinning adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of thin1

First recorded before 900; (adjective and adverb) Middle English thyn(ne), Old English thynne; cognate with Dutch dun, German dünn, Old Norse thunnr; (verb) Middle English thynnen, Old English thynnian, derivative of the adjective; compare Middle Dutch dunnen, Old Norse thynna; akin to Old Irish tana, Latin tenuis thin, Greek tany- long

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Word History and Origins

Origin of thin1

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

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Idioms and Phrases

  • into thin air
  • on thin ice
  • spread oneself too thin
  • through thick and thin
  • wear thin

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Synonym Study

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.

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Example Sentences

I tend to use this method when working with far-too-thin gravies and rich, hearty stews where I’ve probably already used some flour earlier in the cooking process but want to thicken it further.

Typically, you’ll find that saving some money means less material, which equals a thinner vest.

On a rainy street I found a suit, hat and tie, all perfectly placed and slumped on a bench, as if their wearer disappeared into thin air.

The IRS staff is stretched thin, meaning there could be delays as the agency juggles both tax filings and stimulus payments.

To combat this, most touch screen gloves are designed thinner.

Also, she was tall and thin, too, further adding to the ways she met the physical beauty conventions.

“I like decorating my slaves,” she said, referencing the rope, her thin, crimson-coated lips peeling off her front teeth.

Cheney is relying on some thin evidence to tie Hussein to al-Qaida.

They were done to give a thin patina of ersatz legitimacy to what is otherwise flagrant sexual assault.

We had a very thin book that we had to create characters with some different complexity.

This has a warm though a thin soil, which must be highly favorable to the Vine to induce so exclusive a devotion to it.

The Princess was pale and thin; and, though dressed superbly, seemed fitter for her chamber.

Her thin and narrow hands held the balcony railing rather tightly.

His slight, thin, rather graceless figure seemed suddenly to expand, even to grow taller.

She saw in the chair a thin, broken figure, a drawn brown face, a wreck of a man.


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Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




Thimphuthin as a rail