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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.
Also, especially British, meagre.
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 meager
  • And he is doing so with meager funding and only a small band of supporters.
  • Then they gather in clusters of six or seven, each group taking shelter behind a small dune and kindling a meager fire.
  • Both books have done alright, but my royalties are meager.
  • Instead, I continued to shell out my meager disposable income on hardbacks.
  • It's tough work for an often meager reward.
  • Grandmothers have often been through hard times and know how to make a meal from meager ingredients.
  • It's enough to make you stash your meager savings in a piggy bank.
  • On Madagascar this puzzle is complicated by the fact that the fossil record of mammals from the past 65 million years is meager.
  • The monthly handout disappears on meager amounts of food.
  • I'd rather eat something with a taste that is meager and hollow but crisp.
British Dictionary definitions for meager


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 meager

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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