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Alteration of scantillon +‎ -ling, from Old French escantillon (sample pattern) (Modern French échantillon). Later senses also influenced by similarity with scant.



scantling (plural scantlings)

  1. (chiefly in the plural) The set size or dimension of a piece of timber, stone etc., or materials used to build ships or aircraft.
  2. (archaic) A small portion, a scant amount.
    • , Folio Society, 2006, vol.1, p.204:
      For one may have particular knowledge of the nature of one river, and experience of the qualitie of one fountaine, that in other things knowes no more than another man: who neverthelesse to publish this little scantling, will undertake to write all of the Physickes.
    • Francis Bacon
      Such as exceed not this scantling, to be solace to the sovereign and harmless to the people.
    • Milton
      A pretty scantling of his knowledge may taken by his deferring to be baptized so many years.
    • Jeremy Taylor
      Reducing them to narrow scantlings.
  3. A small, upright beam of timber used in construction, especially less than five inches square.
  4. (uncountable) Timber in the form of small beams and pieces.
    • 1899, Kate Chopin, The Awakening:
      Victor, with hammer and nails and scraps of scantling, was patching a corner of one of the galleries.
  5. (obsolete) A rough draught; a crude sketch or outline.
  6. (obsolete) A frame for casks to lie upon; a trestle.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Knight to this entry?)

See also[edit]


scantling (comparative more scantling, superlative most scantling)

  1. Not plentiful; small; scanty.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Jeremy Taylor to this entry?)