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[skan-tee] /ˈskæn ti/
adjective, scantier, scantiest.
scant in amount, quantity, etc.; barely sufficient.
meager; not adequate.
lacking amplitude in extent or compass.
noun, plural scanties.
scanties, very brief underpants, especially for women.
Origin of scanty
1650-60; scant + -y1; (def 4) blend of scanty and panties
Related forms
scantily, adverb
scantiness, noun
unscanty, adjective
1, 2. Scanty, meager, sparse refer to insufficiency or deficiency in quantity, number, etc. Scanty denotes smallness or insufficiency of quantity, number, supply, etc.: a scanty supply of food. Meager indicates that something is poor, stinted, or inadequate: meager fare; a meager income. Sparse applies particularly to that which grows thinly or is thinly strewn or sown, often over a wide area: sparse vegetation; a sparse population.
1, 2. plentiful, ample. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for scanty
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Those heaps had been gathered together by the industrious peasants to make room for a scanty herbage for their cattle.

  • Nothing had been added to her scanty wardrobe in that time but a black frock.

    Rico and Wiseli Johanna Spyri
  • His father was a street-porter who eked out the scanty exchequer by playing a violin at occasional dances or concerts.

  • As Baucis had said, there was but a scanty supper for two hungry travellers.

    The Miraculous Pitcher Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Soldiers were lying on the ground, or passing to and fro, or engaged in merry games, or singing beside the scanty fires.

    Jasper Lyle Harriet Ward
  • By degrees, however, his eyes became accustomed to the scanty light.

    Biographical Stories Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • In the evenings, to augment our scanty revenues, I worked at copying law papers for a notary.

    The Widow Lerouge Emile Gaboriau
  • These computations were correct as far as they went, but they were scanty.

    Flying Machines W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell
British Dictionary definitions for scanty


adjective scantier, scantiest
limited; barely enough; meagre
insufficient; inadequate
lacking fullness; small
Derived Forms
scantily, adverb
scantiness, noun
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 scanty

1650s, "meager, barely sufficient for use;" 1701, "too small, limited in scope," from scant + -y (2). Related: Scantiness (1560s). Scanties (n.) "underwear" (especially for women) attested from 1928.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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