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[gawnt] /gɔnt/
adjective, gaunter, gauntest.
extremely thin and bony; haggard and drawn, as from great hunger, weariness, or torture; emaciated.
bleak, desolate, or grim, as places or things:
a gaunt, windswept landscape.
Origin of gaunt
1400-50; late Middle English, probably < Old French gaunet, jaunet yellowish, derivative of gaune, jaune yellow < Latin galbinus greenish-yellow
Related forms
gauntly, adverb
gauntness, noun
1. lean, spare, scrawny, lank, angular, rawboned. See thin.
1. stout. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for gauntness
Historical Examples
  • In his evening clothes, the length and gauntness of his face and figure seemed more noticeable than ever.

    The Missioner E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • Then she noticed the gauntness of his bronzed face and how lean he was.

    The Gold Trail Harold Bindloss
  • She also saw how worn his face was, and the gauntness of his frame, and her compassion was stronger than her pride.

    Long Odds Harold Bindloss
  • He was as tall as the pastor, and slender, but without the other's gauntness.

    The Uncalled Paul Laurence Dunbar
  • His gauntness was more pronounced than it ever had been before.

    The Bondboy George W. (George Washington) Ogden
  • He was large for a Frenchman, and his gauntness was compounded by an obvious lack of sleep.

    Unbegotten Child Winston Marks
  • Starved to gauntness, obviously the animal had been receiving neither food nor attention.

    Trading Jeff and his Dog James Arthur Kjelgaard
  • Gaga was in his sleeping-suit, spectral in his gauntness and his pallor.

    Coquette Frank Swinnerton
  • His is a wall-paper with a vengeance—one quarter of the universe laid bare in all its gauntness.

    Across the Plains Robert Louis Stevenson
  • His garments were ragged, and his gauntness showed through them.

    Delilah of the Snows Harold Bindloss
British Dictionary definitions for gauntness


bony and emaciated in appearance
(of places) bleak or desolate
Derived Forms
gauntly, adverb
gauntness, noun
Word Origin
C15: perhaps of Scandinavian origin; compare Norwegian dialect gand tall lean person
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 gauntness



mid-15c. (as a surname from mid-13c.), from Middle French gant, of uncertain origin; perhaps from a Scandinavian source (cf. Old Norse gand "a thin stick," also "a tall thin man") and somehow connected with the root of gander. Connection also has been suggested to Old French jaunet "yellowish" [Middle English Dictionary].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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