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[mee-ger] /ˈmi gər/
deficient in quantity or quality; lacking fullness or richness; scanty; inadequate:
a meager salary; meager fare; a meager harvest.
having little flesh; lean; thin:
a body meager with hunger.
Origin of meager
1300-50; Middle English megre < Old French maigre < Latin macer lean
Related forms
meagerly, adverb
meagerness, noun
1. See scanty. 2. gaunt, spare, skinny. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for meagre
  • In exchange, they got a meagre allowance of performance-related payments and the promise of royalties.
  • It is wary of attracting even more money from foreign investors, who are looking for high returns in a world of meagre yields.
  • The programmes available for the poor are at once limited and helpful, meagre and costly.
  • Little wonder that consumer spending remains meagre.
  • Despite these meagre pay gains, households are eager to spend whatever they get.
  • What sets him apart is that his fame is out of all proportion to his meagre on-field accomplishment.
  • Absolutely no way the meagre amount of leftover cooking oil will ever supply more than a fraction of a percent of fuel demand.
  • They had intermittent electricity and meagre insulation.
  • The shadowy procession is not a meagre one, and the standard not a low one.
  • Tiny island nations often rely on the income they provide to boost their meagre coffers.
British Dictionary definitions for meagre


deficient in amount, quality, or extent
thin or emaciated
lacking in richness or strength
Derived Forms
meagrely, (US) meagerly, adverb
meagreness, (US) meagerness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French maigre,from Latin macer lean, poor
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
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Word Origin and History for meagre

chiefly British English spelling of meager (q.v.); for spelling, see -re.



late 14c. (late 12c. as a surname), "lean, thin, emaciated" (of persons or animals), from Old French megre, maigre "thin" (12c.), from Latin macrum (nominative macer) "lean, thin" (source of Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian magro), from PIE *makro- (see macro-). Of material things (land, food, etc.) from early 15c. Cognate Germanic words (Old Norse magr "thin," Old High German magar, German mager, Middle Dutch magher, Dutch mager, Old English mæger) come directly from the PIE root via Proto-Germanic *magras and are not from Latin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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