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[skraw-nee] /ˈskrɔ ni/
adjective, scrawnier, scrawniest.
excessively thin; lean; scraggy:
a long, scrawny neck.
Origin of scrawny
1825-35, Americanism; variant of dial. scranny < Norwegian skran lean + -y1
Related forms
scrawnily, adverb
scrawniness, noun
gaunt, emaciated.
fleshy, plump. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for scrawny
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is a scrawny desert tree which lives in adversity but holds its ground for centuries, if fire does not cut its career short.

    American Forest Trees Henry H. Gibson
  • I conceived a contempt for that shaven, scrawny skipper––I remember it well.

  • What is called fame is as scrawny and humpbacked and crooked-faced as my body--but what matters that?

    The Eyes of the World Harold Bell Wright
  • There had been but the one scrawny horse before our arrival.

    The Crossing Winston Churchill
  • In the water stood willow bushes, with blackish, scrawny branches; on the banks were small willows, equally scrawny.

    The conquest of Rome Matilde Serao
  • It seemed impossible for the scrawny and emaciated child to satisfy itself.

    The Narrow House Evelyn Scott
British Dictionary definitions for scrawny


adjective scrawnier, scrawniest
very thin and bony; scraggy
meagre or stunted: scrawny vegetation
Derived Forms
scrawnily, adverb
scrawniness, noun
Word Origin
C19: variant of dialect scranny; see scrannel
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 scrawny

1824, apparently a dialectal variant of scranny "lean, thin" (1820), which is of uncertain origin but probably from a Scandinavian source, perhaps Old Norse skrælna "to shrivel." Cf. scrannel.

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



Lean; bony; scraggy, skinny (1833+)

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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