One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1(of something provided or available) lacking in quantity or quality.‘they were forced to supplement their meagre earnings’‘a meagre diet of bread and beans’
inadequate, scanty, scant, paltry, limited, restricted, modest, insufficient, sparse, spare, deficient, negligible, insubstantial, skimpy, short, little, lean, small, slight, slender, poor, miserable, pitiful, puny, miserly, niggardly, beggarlyView synonyms
- ‘Although she was managing to get by on the meagre salary she drew tutoring primary-school children after school, it most likely wouldn't last.’
- ‘Shadowy clouds completely obscured the moon, leaving a meager handful of stars to vainly attempt to provide light.’
- ‘All the same he would queue up with the other drones for hours to receive his meagre earnings.’
- ‘Through the solid floor of the abode, the chill of winter seeped in, fettered little by the meagre warmth provided by the fire.’
- ‘He had laid off some heavy bets recently and his meagre earnings as a postman would not cover them.’
- ‘Colin Farrell, the latest Irish actor to make it in Hollywood, might command millions for a movie, but other Irish actors are struggling on meagre wages in theatre and television at home.’
- ‘The profligate US government, it was said, could not finance its deficits from the meager savings of its people, thereby necessitating borrowing from abroad.’
- ‘Its meager light provided the group its only means of illumination.’
- ‘The institutions' motivation is obvious: they are thinking about what you'll be earning in ten years time, rather than the meagre sums many students earn now.’
- ‘While they wait for the train, the prisoners eat their meager ration of bread.’
- ‘Earnings on this level fall to a meagre three cents a share.’
- ‘I was being jerked around in my seat like a rag doll and in fear I reached for the dash to provide some form of meagre support.’
- ‘The big winner (or big loser, depending on your perspective) wins $50,000, a suitably meagre sum for a Canadian game show.’
- ‘Shadows offered only meagre protection, but it was protection I was thankful for as I listened to her footsteps come down the hall toward me, the steps slow and measured.’
- ‘He began to drink heavily, left London in 1914, and spent the rest of his life roaming around Ireland, living off meagre earnings from hastily scribbled articles and stories.’
- ‘And from what I've seen, you're pretty content with your meagre wardrobe.’
- ‘Its greatest weakness is its meager budget and limited scope.’
- ‘A staggering 71% of workers in the industry don't even have access to a pension at work and many will be reliant on a meagre state pension to provide their retirement income.’
- ‘Long waiting lists, a meagre state health budget and inadequate hospital services prompted the three men to raise cash and build their own hospital on the southside of Dublin.’
- ‘In a household where one of the parents was a newly graduated professor of linguistics and the other an artist, income was usually rather meagre and spasmodic in nature.’
- 1.1 (of a person or animal) lean; thin.‘a tall, meagre man’
thin, thin as a rake, lean, skinny, spare, scrawny, scraggy, gangling, gangly, spindly, stringy, lanky, reedy, bony, raw-boned, gaunt, underweight, emaciated, skeletal, starved, underfed, undernourished, attenuated, wraithlike, cadaverous, wasted, anorexicView synonyms
- ‘She seemed so meagre and weak, like her body had lost that glow.’
- ‘The gutters were choked with inedible refuse: sticks, feathers, rags, skeletons of animals that had been boiled for their meager flesh.’
- ‘She had a slim and meager body, her neck was long, and her cheekbones were easily distinguished.’
- ‘We had no idea who she was, and only her meager profile gave proof that she was in fact female beneath the armor.’
Middle English (in the sense ‘lean’): from Old French maigre, from Latin macer.
A large predatory marine fish of the drum family, found in the Mediterranean, eastern Atlantic, and south-western Indian Ocean. It is an important food fish in southern Africa.
Argyrosomus hololepidotus, family SciaenidaeCalled kabeljou in South Africa
Mid 16th century: from French, noun use of maigre ‘lean, thin’.
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