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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English megre, from Anglo-Norman megre, Old French maigre, from Latin macer, from Proto-Indo-European *mh₂ḱrós. 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, Norwegian Bokmål mager and Danish mager. Doublet of maigre.



meager (comparative meagerer, superlative meagerest) (American spelling) (Canadian spelling, common)

  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.
    The street outside my window furnishes meager entertainment.
    • 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...
    • 2002, Huang Chin-shing, Business as a Vocation: The Autobiography of Wu Ho-Su[3], Harvard University Press, →ISBN, →OCLC, page 26:
      Making the run from Taipei to Panchiao every day to sell the gold-colored paper, he scraped together a meager livelihood.
  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.
    Antonym: dense
  4. (mineralogy) Dry and harsh to the touch (e.g., as chalk).


Derived terms[edit]


  • Jamaican Creole: mawga


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


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

  1. (American spelling, transitive) To make lean.


West Frisian[edit]


From Old Frisian *māger, from Proto-Germanic *magraz, from Proto-Indo-European *mh₂ḱrós.



  1. skinny, not well fed
  2. lean, lacking in fat


Inflection of meager
uninflected meager
inflected meagere
comparative meagerder
positive comparative superlative
predicative/adverbial meager meagerder it meagerst
it meagerste
indefinite c. sing. meagere meagerdere meagerste
n. sing. meager meagerder meagerste
plural meagere meagerdere meagerste
definite meagere meagerdere meagerste
partitive meagers meagerders

Further reading[edit]

  • meager”, in Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal (in Dutch), 2011