[ thin ]
See synonyms for: thinthinnedthinnerthinnest on

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.

  1. having little flesh; spare; lean: a thin man.

  2. composed of or containing objects, particles, etc., widely separated; sparse: thin vegetation.

  3. scant; not abundant or plentiful.

  4. of relatively slight consistency or viscosity: thin soup.

  5. rarefied, as air.

  6. without solidity or substance; flimsy: a very thin plot for such a long book.

  7. lacking fullness or volume; weak and shrill: a thin voice.

  8. without force or a sincere effort: a thin smile.

  9. lacking body, richness, or strength: a thin wine.

  10. lacking in chroma; of light tint.

  11. Photography. (of a developed negative) lacking in density or contrast through underdevelopment or underexposure.

  1. in a thin manner.

  2. sparsely; not densely.

  1. 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.

Origin of thin

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

synonym study For thin

3. 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.

Other words for thin

Other words from thin

  • thinly, adverb
  • thinness, noun
  • o·ver·thin, adjective
  • o·ver·thin·ly, adverb
  • o·ver·thin·ness, noun
  • self-thinning, adjective
  • su·per·thin, adjective
  • un·thinned, adjective
  • un·thin·ning, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use thin in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for thin


/ (θɪn) /

adjectivethinner or thinnest
  1. of relatively small extent from one side or surface to the other; fine or narrow

  2. slim or lean

  1. sparsely placed; meagre: thin hair

  2. of relatively low density or viscosity: a thin liquid

  3. weak; poor; insufficient: a thin disguise

  4. (of a photographic negative) having low density, usually insufficient to produce a satisfactory positive

  5. mountaineering a climb or pitch on which the holds are few and small

  6. thin on the ground few in number; scarce

  1. in order to produce something thin: to cut bread thin

verbthins, thinning or thinned
  1. to make or become thin or sparse

Origin of thin

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

Derived forms of thin

  • thinly, adverb
  • thinness, noun

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with 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

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