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[mee-zlee] /ˈmi zli/
adjective, measlier, measliest.
  1. contemptibly small, meager, or slight:
    They paid me a measly fifteen dollars for a day's work.
  2. wretchedly bad or unsatisfactory:
    a measly performance.
infected with measles, as an animal or its flesh.
pertaining to or resembling measles.
Origin of measly
1680-90; measl(es) + -y1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for measly
  • Yes, it is sad the conditions that adjuncts have to endure to earn a measly wage.
  • The fish killer extraordinaire is a measly dinoflagellate, a kind of alga, or single-celled aquatic plant.
  • Unless you are freakishly flexible, you will only have managed to a measly acute angle.
  • measly as those yields may be, they are still positive in real terms because of the country's long record of deflation.
  • It is a potent magnet for those millions of country people who can barely live off the measly landholdings available to them.
  • Yes, a measly few billion that will be paid for by closing a corporate loophole.
  • The only thing they found was one measly case with a geological map indicating that a nearby farm was a likely oil-drilling site.
  • Their stocks typically trade at a discount to the overall market and at a measly fraction of their own annual revenues.
British Dictionary definitions for measly


adjective -slier, -sliest
(informal) meagre in quality or quantity
(of meat) measled
having or relating to measles
Word Origin
C17: see measles
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 measly

"affected with measles," 1680s, from measle (see measles) + -y (2); sense of "meager and contemptible" first recorded 1864 in British slang.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for measly



A cruel, unkind person; villain; heavy (1927+)

Related Terms

blue meanie

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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