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  • IPA(key): /skænt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ænt

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English scant, from Old Norse skamt, neuter of skammr (short), from Proto-Germanic *skammaz (short), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)ḱem- (mutilated, hornless).


scant (comparative scanter, superlative scantest)

  1. Very little, very few.
    After his previous escapades, Mary had scant reason to believe John.
    • 2018, James Lambert, “A multitude of ‘lishes’: The nomenclature of hybridity”, in English World-Wide[1], page 4:
      Another major defect of the current literature dealing with the nomenclature of hybrid forms of English is the scant attention paid to the question of frequency.
    • 2019 July 17, Talia Lavin, “When Non-Jews Wield Anti-Semitism as Political Shield”, in GQ[2]:
      [Minnesota Senator Steve] Daines isn’t the only example of right-wing politicians who wish to wield anti-Semitism as a convenient cudgel against their political enemies, with scant if any evidence. But Montana’s vanishingly small Jewish population makes it particularly clear that this strategy has little to do with flesh-and-blood Jews at all.
  2. Not full, large, or plentiful; scarcely sufficient; scanty; meager; not enough.
    a scant allowance of provisions or water; a scant pattern of cloth for a garment
    • (Can we date this quote by Ridley and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      His sermon was scant, in all, a quarter of an hour.
  3. Sparing; parsimonious; chary.
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English scanten, from the adjective (see above).


scant (third-person singular simple present scants, present participle scanting, simple past and past participle scanted)

  1. (transitive) To limit in amount or share; to stint.
    to scant someone in provisions; to scant ourselves in the use of necessaries
    • c. 1606–1607, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Anthonie and Cleopatra”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene ii]:
      Scant not my cups.
    • (Can we date this quote by Francis Bacon and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      where man hath a great living laid together and where he is scanted
    • (Can we date this quote by Dryden and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      I am scanted in the pleasure of dwelling on your actions.
  2. (intransitive) To fail, or become less; to scantle.
    The wind scants.

Etymology 3[edit]

From Middle English scant, from the adjective (see above).


scant (plural scants)

  1. (masonry) A block of stone sawn on two sides down to the bed level.
  2. (masonry) A sheet of stone.
  3. (wood) A slightly thinner measurement of a standard wood size.

Etymology 4[edit]

From Middle English scant, from the adjective (see above).


scant (not comparable)

  1. With difficulty; scarcely; hardly.
    • (Can we date this quote by Fuller and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      So weak that he was scant able to go down the stairs.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Francis Bacon to this entry?)



  1. Scarcity; lack.