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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, Old Norse magr whence the Icelandic magur.



meager ‎(comparative meagerer, superlative meagerest)

  1. Having little flesh; lean; thin.
  2. Poor, deficient or inferior in amount, quality or extent; paltry; scanty; inadequate; unsatisfying.
    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]


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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