2 [leen]
adjective, leaner, leanest.
(of persons or animals) without much flesh or fat; not plump or fat; thin: lean cattle.
(of edible meat) containing little or no fat.
lacking in richness, fullness, quantity, etc.; poor: a lean diet; lean years.
spare; economical: a lean prose style.
Automotive. (of a mixture in a fuel system) having a relatively low ratio of fuel to air (contrasted with rich ).
(of paint) having more pigment than oil. Compare fat ( def 12 ).
Nautical. (of a bow) having fine lines; sharp.
Metallurgy. (of ore) having a low mineral content; low-grade.
the part of flesh that consists of muscle rather than fat.
the lean part of anything.
Typesetting. matter that is difficult to set because of complexity or intermixed fonts. Compare fat ( def 23 ).

before 1000; Middle English lene, Old English hlǣne

leanly, adverb
leanness, noun

1. skinny, lank, lanky. See thin. 3. sparse, barren, unfruitful, jejune.

1, 2. fat. 3. fruitful.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
lean1 (liːn)
vb (foll by against, on, or upon) , leans, leaning, leaned, leant
1.  to rest or cause to rest against a support
2.  to incline or cause to incline from a vertical position
3.  (intr; foll by to or towards) to have or express a tendency or leaning
4.  informal lean over backwards to make a special effort, esp in order to please
5.  the condition of inclining from a vertical position
[Old English hleonian, hlinian; related to Old High German hlinēn, Latin clīnāre to incline]

lean2 (liːn)
1.  (esp of a person or an animal) having no surplus flesh or bulk; not fat or plump
2.  not bulky or full
3.  (of meat) having little or no fat
4.  not rich, abundant, or satisfying
5.  (of a mixture of fuel and air) containing insufficient fuel and too much air: a lean mixture
6.  (of printer's type) having a thin appearance
7.  (of a paint) containing relatively little oil
8.  (of an ore) not having a high mineral content
9.  (of concrete) made with a small amount of cement
10.  the part of meat that contains little or no fat
[Old English hlǣne, of Germanic origin]

Lean (liːn)
Sir David. 1908--91, English film director. His films include In Which We Serve (1942), Blithe Spirit (1945), Brief Encounter (1946), Great Expectations (1946), Oliver Twist (1948), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Dr Zhivago (1965), and A Passage to India (1984)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. hleonian "to bend, recline, lie down, rest," from P.Gmc. *khlinen (cf. O.S. hlinon, O.Fris. lena, M.Du. lenen, Ger. lehnen "to lean"), from PIE base *kli- "to lean, to incline" (cf. Skt. srayati "leans," sritah "leaning;" O.Pers. cay "to lean;" Lith. slyti "to slope," slieti "to lean;" L. clinare
"to lean, bend," clivus "declivity," inclinare "cause to bend," declinare "bend down, turn aside;" Gk. klinein "to cause to slope, slant, incline;" O.Ir. cloin "crooked, wrong;" M.Ir. cle, Welsh cledd "left," lit. "slanting;" Welsh go-gledd "north," lit. "left" -- for similar sense evolution, see Yemen, Benjamin, southpaw). Meaning "to incline the body against something for support" is mid-13c. Figurative sense of "to trust for support" is from early 13c. Sense of "to lean toward mentally, to favor" is from late 14c. Colloquial to lean on "put pressure on" (someone) is first recorded 1960.

"thin, spare, with little flesh or fat," O.E. hlæne, possibly from hlænan "cause to lean or bend," from P.Gmc. *khlainijan, which would make it related to O.E. hleonian (see lean (v.)). But perhaps rather from a PIE *qloinio- (cf. Lith. klynas "scrap, fragment," Lettish kleins "feeble").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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