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Alternative forms[edit]

  • meagre (Commonwealth English)


From Middle English megre, from Anglo-Norman megre, Old French maigre, from Latin macer, from Proto-Indo-European *mh₂ḱros. Akin, through the Indo-European root, to Old English mæġer (meager, lean), West Frisian meager (meager), Dutch mager (meager), German mager, Icelandic magr whence the Icelandic magur and Danish mager.



meager (comparative meagerer, superlative meagerest)

  1. Having little flesh; lean; thin.
  2. Poor, deficient or inferior in amount, quality or extent
    Synonyms: paltry, scanty, inadequate, measly
    A meager piece of cake in one bite.
    • 1607, Thomas Walkington, The Optick Glasse of Humors, or, The touchstone of a golden temperature, or ...[1], page 54:
      ...that begets many ugly and deformed phantasies in the braine, which being also hot and drie in the second extenuates and makes meager the body extraordinarily, ...
    • 1637, William Shakespeare, The most excellent Historie of the Merchant of Venice: With the extreame crueltie of Shylocke...[2], page E5:
      Nor none of thee thou pale and common drudge tween man and man: but thou, thou meager lead which rather threatnest then dost promise ought...
  3. (set theory) Of a set: such that, considered as a subset of a (usually larger) topological space, it is in a precise sense small or negligible.
  4. (mineralogy) Dry and harsh to the touch (e.g., as chalk).


Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


meager (third-person singular simple present meagers, present participle meagering, simple past and past participle meagered)

  1. (transitive) To make lean.


West Frisian[edit]


From Old Frisian *māger, from Proto-Germanic *magraz, from Proto-Indo-European *mh₂ḱros.



  1. meager