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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
  • Out of season shad is scrawny and thin, but in season it is plump and succulent.
  • For years the thin, even the scrawny, have had everything their own way.
  • The parasite can leave the birds too scrawny for market.
  • Probably because the rest of her body is so scrawny.
  • Several scrawny cottonwood trees do not usually generate much excitement in the world of ecology.
  • Grateful knock-kneed boys with scrawny arms and sunken chests reported that their lives had been turned around.
  • In ounce-for-ounce comparison, mammals and reptiles are scrawny weaklings next to birds.
  • They had lean torsos and narrow shoulders and scrawny legs.
  • Even guard dogs must be imported: local pooches are too scrawny and insufficiently savage.
  • Sadly, my intensive investigations soon wore out the scrawny scope.
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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