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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 meagre
Historical Examples
  • The account we have of their movements is so meagre that it is impossible to follow with accuracy the route they traversed.

    Christopher Carson John S. C. Abbott
  • She was the most meagre craft, in the way of outfit, I ever put to sea in.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • He was said to be eagerly hunting after a lady of meagre attractions but enormous fortune.

    The Yeoman Adventurer George W. Gough
  • They were too poor to give him any but the most meagre education.

    Self-Help Samuel Smiles
  • The news, meagre though it was, was eagerly listened to, and Jack had to answer many questions before he was permitted to leave.

    With Rifle and Bayonet F.S. Brereton
  • Trees are also very rare on that spot, and these poor, meagre, and cancerous.

    The History of Louisiana Le Page Du Pratz
  • The peasants are poorly lodged, meagre in their looks, mean in their apparel, and remarkably dirty.

  • There were no words in her meagre vocabulary to voice her bitterness of heart.

  • So nicely adjusted were her physical proportions that it could not be said that she was either tall or short, plump or meagre.

  • A meagre meal was served at an early hour the following morning.

    The Gaunt Gray Wolf Dillon Wallace
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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