Etymology: Middle English megre, from Anglo-French megre, meigre, from Latin macr-, macer lean; akin to Old English mæger lean, Greek makros long
Date: 14th century
1. having little flesh ; thin
a. lacking desirable qualities (as richness or strength) <leading a meager life> b. deficient in quality or quantity <a meager diet> • meagerly adverb • meagerness noun Synonyms: meager, scanty, scant, skimpy, spare, sparse mean falling short of what is normal, necessary, or desirable. meager implies the absence of elements, qualities, or numbers necessary to a thing's richness, substance, or potency <a meager portion of meat>. scanty stresses insufficiency in amount, quantity, or extent <supplies too scanty to last the winter>. scant suggests a falling short of what is desired or desirable rather than of what is essential <in January the daylight hours are scant>. skimpy usually suggests niggardliness or penury as the cause of the deficiency <tacky housing developments on skimpy lots>. spare may suggest a slight falling short of adequacy or merely an absence of superfluity <a spare, concise style of writing>. sparse implies a thin scattering of units <a sparse population>.
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.