Definition of thin in English:

thin

adjective

  • 1With opposite surfaces or sides that are close or relatively close together:

    ‘thin slices of bread’
    ‘a thin line of paint’
    • ‘It was a simple dish made up of thin slices of perfectly cooked beef and onions, served with a generous amount of a light gravy with hints of Asian flavourings.’
    • ‘There is a relatively thin crust of ice, but most of the water is liquid.’
    • ‘Only a thin layer at the surface thaws during summer.’
    • ‘The keypad lights up a shaded blue, and the buttons are thin and stylish.’
    • ‘Another method of treatment is acupuncture, which involves the insertion of thin needles into the body to regulate and redirect the flow of qi.’
    • ‘The pudding is made by lining a buttered basin with fairly thin slices of good bread cut to fit exactly.’
    • ‘To serve, place the salmon skin side down and slice horizontally into thin pieces.’
    • ‘Once you have bunched four or five sprigs together, wind thin wire around the cluster, leaving a one-inch spike at the bottom.’
    • ‘It lifts a thin surface layer of the cornea away from underlying layers.’
    • ‘Generally, the cylinder and the cylinder head bolt together with a thin gasket pressed between them to ensure a good seal.’
    • ‘One particular 20 yard stretch of rail is held down on one side by just one thin clip; the rest are either missing or so bent that they are not securing the rail at all.’
    • ‘The stations were separated by thin partitions and the side walls were painted drywall.’
    • ‘These traditional Italian style pizzas are thin and crisp and loaded with delicate, subtle flavours and topped with mozzarella cheese.’
    • ‘He shook his head and pressed his lips together in a thin line.’
    • ‘The thin bark had been stripped all the way around for two to three feet.’
    • ‘He pulled out a thin strip of metal and put it into the lock.’
    • ‘Polycarbonate is a tough, transparent thermoplastic that's used to make thin, light lenses.’
    • ‘Creeping plants such as the ivy may be joined together by thin wire.’
    • ‘Homemade decorations using herbs such as cinnamon sticks and whole star anise can be strung together with thin ribbon or raffia and hung from the branches for a different look.’
    • ‘The key lime was pleasantly tart, on a nice thin crust.’
    wafer-thin, paper-thin, papery
    narrow, fine, pencil-thin, thread-like, attenuated
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a garment or other knitted or woven item) made of light material:
      ‘his thin jacket’
      • ‘Only thin sleeves split down the inside covered her arms.’
      • ‘Her veil was thin, and woven and accommodated little sprinkles everywhere.’
      • ‘The weather was fairly warm for Spring, so the boys were fine in their thin clothing.’
      • ‘The woman was only wearing a thin jumper and was shivering, so the girls braved the cold wind and Danika gave her coat to the woman, while Jody donated her scarf.’
      • ‘The ground was very wet and I felt it almost at once through my thin boots.’
      • ‘The neckline curved down low, and was layered under a thin see-through material that shimmered.’
      • ‘She wore a thin shirt, and long skirt, with high heels to make her seem taller.’
      • ‘The dress was long, but the thin material was light and loose, making it easy to walk and move.’
      • ‘Lining one side were six feather pillows and covering the floor was a thin rug on which sat a bottle of wine and two glasses.’
      • ‘Wear a warm hat to guard against heat loss from your head and if your hands are susceptible to the cold then wear some thin gloves.’
      • ‘His muscular chest was well defined through the thin shirt he wore.’
      • ‘The cigarette burned a hole in Adam's thin sleeve and stung his arm.’
      • ‘Wear layers of thin clothes rather than one thick layer - the warmth from your body will get trapped between the layers, keeping you warmer.’
      • ‘Spraying repellent on clothing can be useful, as mosquitoes can bite through thin fabrics.’
      • ‘She began to feel her thin shoes break under her, and the muscles in her thighs started to burn with fury from the intense climb.’
      • ‘And the thin jacket she'd worn did nothing to ward off the distinct chill that heralded coming rain.’
      • ‘Her own shoes were so thin, and her steps so graceful that they hardly made a sound.’
      • ‘Will ran towards the outer courtyard, Sibyl in close pursuit, noticeably slowed down by her thin shoes and bulky dress.’
      • ‘He was smiling openly at her, wearing just a thin shirt and trousers.’
      • ‘A thin, translucent organza material partially hid the silver tasseled white sheets from view.’
      lightweight, light, fine, delicate, floaty, flimsy, diaphanous, gossamer, insubstantial
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (of a garment or fabric) having become less thick as a result of wear:
      ‘our clothing was getting thin’
      • ‘His too-big jeans were ripped in the knees, and his tee shirt was worn into a thin fabric.’
      • ‘They both were wearing very thin shirts with a ton of holes in them.’
      worn, well worn, old, worn out, holey, moth-eaten, mangy, ragged, frayed, tattered, battered
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 (of writing or printing) consisting of narrow lines:
      ‘tall, thin lettering’
      • ‘It reminds me of the old digital watch I had as a kid, with thin black lettering on the grey screen.’
      • ‘In thin gilt lettering on the creamy white of the menu, how little those words conveyed to the bulk of the imperfectly educated diners.’
      narrow, fine, pencil-thin, thread-like, attenuated
      View synonyms
  • 2Having little, or too little, flesh or fat on the body:

    ‘a thin, gawky adolescent’
    • ‘She is skeletally thin, with hollow, cadaverous eyes and cheeks.’
    • ‘Rakishly thin, he wore tattered cords that rode half way up his skeleton legs.’
    • ‘He was thin but far from weak and stood about six-foot tall.’
    • ‘He was thin and weak, and his voice was almost inaudible despite the relative quiet of a teaching hospital side room.’
    • ‘He is so thin and reedy you worried for his balance when the wind picked up, but he moves with soft, sumptuous delicacy.’
    • ‘He was already walking a fine line between thin and skeletal when we met, but now he just looks ill.’
    • ‘It was a woman, tall and thin, smiling and leaning against a fence.’
    • ‘He got thin and weak and seeing my father like this was not the easiest of experiences in my life.’
    • ‘If you're naturally thin, you might fill out a little more after puberty, but then again, you might not.’
    • ‘His face was just a little pale and he was thin; nowhere close to looking starved, but he was thinner than he should be.’
    • ‘So what motivated her to drop from a healthy 130 pounds to being so thin that today she wears a pair of flannel pants under her size one jeans just to hold them up?’
    • ‘They were an oddly diverse group, one man was short and heavy, two others were tall and muscular, and the other two looked rather thin and weak.’
    • ‘Lily, on the other hand, was dark headed, short but thin, and relatively quiet.’
    • ‘His baggy black clothing made him look thin and weak.’
    • ‘I see a thin, bearded guy wearing a thick turtleneck sweater, spooning coffee into a mug in his small flat, scowling at the newspaper.’
    • ‘And the public wonders why people in the fashion industry are so thin!’
    • ‘If you could point to a line of fat or thin people stretching back generations, I'd accept that, but in general the number of people whose body shape is determined by their genes is very small.’
    • ‘The director is tall and thin with good posture, and he appears neither old nor young.’
    • ‘She looked very thin, weak and pale and was shivering.’
    • ‘I almost felt sorry for Nicola, who's grown painfully thin.’
    slim, lean, slender, rangy, willowy, svelte, sylphlike, spare, slight
    View synonyms
  • 3Having few parts or members relative to the area covered or filled; sparse:

    ‘a depressingly thin crowd’
    ‘his hair was going thin’
    • ‘The forest started to looked thinner, and he thought he'd found something.’
    • ‘There seems to have been at most a thin trickle of men directly from northern France into Scotland, and there is little evidence of migration directly from the Continent to Ireland.’
    • ‘Their fur was thickest in patches on the head and groin, elsewhere it was thin and limited.’
    • ‘Others argue that allied troops are too thin on the ground to make any difference.’
    sparse, scanty, wispy, thinning
    meagre, paltry, poor, inadequate, insufficient, sparse, scanty, scattered
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1 (of the air or a substance in the air) not dense:
      ‘the thin cold air of the mountains’
      • ‘So some astronomers are quite keen to set up their instruments in Antarctica to take advantage of the thin, cold air.’
      • ‘You are about 27,000 feet up in the Earth's atmosphere, the air is thin, you are using an oxygen tank.’
      • ‘A thin veil of fog had rolled in off the bay, obscuring his view and coating the area in a pale gray-white mist.’
      • ‘Such journeying to cold, high places where the air is thin requires lengthy preparation for the most severe conditions conceivable.’
      • ‘Therefore, the air is thin, dry and your body receives about 50 percent less oxygen than at sea level.’
      • ‘He wrote about what it was like to live and die where the air is so thin that every breath is a triumph.’
      • ‘The morning started fine, with a little high thin cloud, but still and very cold.’
      • ‘The route itself can be slick and frozen over, and exhausted runners may be prone to hypothermia in the thin, cold air.’
      • ‘The air was thin up here, but he was used to going up high and knew how to control his breathing so he didn't get lightheaded.’
      • ‘Last weeks's scorching heat in Jakarta happened because the humidity in Jakarta was low and the clouds were thin, so the heat of the sun was unobstructed.’
      • ‘The air is so thin it is incapable of supporting life.’
      • ‘She said she had recently hiked for four days in the thin air of Yosemite National Park.’
      • ‘They hope to complete the trek in five days, but it presents problems because they will be walking at altitudes of up to 14,000 ft, where the air is thin.’
      • ‘Its average elevation is 13,000 feet, making the air rather thin and cold, and ten peaks top 20,000 feet.’
      • ‘A hole has been torn in the thin veil of ozone just above the Antarctic.’
      • ‘The day dawned gray and chill, a thin mist turning Baghdad's usually dry air damp.’
      • ‘Winding down My head ached, and my throat was dry from the dehydrating effects of flying, and too much cold, thin air.’
      • ‘In addition, she suffers from asthma, which makes mountain races, where the air is thin, particularly difficult.’
      • ‘She has trained at Flagstaff in Arizona, again using the thin air at high altitude to stretch her limbs and clear her mind.’
      • ‘The air is thin up there, and only the most able should attempt to scale those peaks.’
    2. 3.2Mountaineering Denoting a route on which the holds are small or scarce.
      • ‘Follow the thin right fork through to easier ground and the top.’
      • ‘This is a shoe that excels when face climbing or thin crack climbing.’
      • ‘There is a bolt right before a thin little crux move.’
      • ‘There, a series of thin moves leads you up the remainder of the corner, then you end up facing a traverse to the right under a huge, overhanging roof.’
      • ‘Fifteen feet of traversing to reach a thin finger crack lay ahead.’
  • 4(of a liquid substance) not containing much solid; flowing freely:

    ‘thin soup’
    • ‘The surrounding tissue swells up and thin pus leaks through narrow passages called sinuses onto the surface of the skin.’
    • ‘If the liquid is too thin for a gravy, just put it in a pan on the stovetop and boil it down to reduce to a nice consistency.’
    • ‘In several test tubes and bottles were thin, multicolored liquids.’
    • ‘Do not swallow anything until it is a thin liquid pulp.’
    • ‘Rarely, a patient may be limited to foods with a pudding consistency if thin and thick liquids are freely aspirated.’
    • ‘The mild tartness of the thin liquid cut through the dust and diesel fumes.’
    • ‘Regardless of its ethnic origins, it will be a thin, brown liquid, made from fermented fish and salt.’
    • ‘They can vary in size and contain liquid that is thin and watery, or thicker and paste-like.’
    • ‘Yet, there really was nothing unusual about the soup, merely a thin beef broth with onions.’
    • ‘If no frank perforation is seen, thin barium liquid should be used to identify lacerations that may otherwise be missed.’
    • ‘He painted in thin oils with a bright palette in a freely painted technique which allowed the white of the exposed canvas to give added luminosity.’
    • ‘Twice a day inmates receive two pieces of dry bread and weak tea; at midday they are handed a portion of soup or thin gruel.’
    • ‘The béarnaise sauce was now so thin and runny it had the consistency of water and didn't taste good at all.’
    • ‘At the moment the boys exist on an unchanging and meagre diet of bread and milk for breakfast, potato and rice for lunch and thin vegetable soup for dinner.’
    • ‘If you are one of those frailer and more malnourished types, you should eat light nourishing soups or thin rice porridge.’
    • ‘In any case, the fluid is clear and thin but quite strong, and isn't easily rubbed into skin.’
    • ‘If there is only a slight excess of sugar over the normal saturation level, the supercooled liquid is a thin syrup.’
    • ‘He invited the wealthy man to dinner, which consisted of old hard bread and thin vegetable soup.’
    • ‘In a dark corner, two fighters are dozing while a thin potato and lamb soup simmers on the stove.’
    • ‘A thin cornmeal soup was frequently made, to which pieces of meat, fish, or other foods could be added.’
    watery, watered down, weak, dilute, diluted, thinned down
    View synonyms
  • 5Lacking substance or quality; weak or inadequate:

    ‘the evidence is rather thin’
    • ‘The supplements on Disc Two are surprisingly thin and lacking in substance.’
    • ‘Densely plotted and vividly acted, the film's abundance of ideas and intrigue wind up stretched perilously thin.’
    • ‘Further investment in players may improve their weak defence or thin squad, but would disrupt the team spirit which has thus far carried them to the heady heights of fourth.’
    • ‘My only gripe is that, for the price, it's a little on the thin side.’
    • ‘But as a reason to renounce my citizenship, it's a thin one.’
    • ‘He also tried to dispel the belief that the government had a thin legislative agenda.’
    • ‘This form, music video, paired popular songs with series of incoherent images held together by thin narratives.’
    • ‘It sounds a bit thin compared to finding the cure for diseases or inventing those dimples that make golf balls fly farther, but I am sure it must have some value.’
    • ‘It's weak, it's thin, it's insipid and it's desperately unsatisfying.’
    • ‘The focus on each is spread a bit too thin, so the connections between them are never clear enough.’
    • ‘I found the explanation for the campaign material disappointing and a bit thin.’
    • ‘The plotline is relatively thin, relying on the quantity of ghosts and potential gruesome deaths to keep the story going until its climatic end.’
    • ‘This vital missing ingredient leaves the characterisation grossly underdeveloped, and the plot, somewhat on the thin side.’
    • ‘If formal sources of law, and the law they produce, have become too thin and weak for the tasks they should accomplish, supportive normativity may be found in tradition.’
    • ‘He was their speed receiver, and his departure leaves them thin at the position.’
    • ‘Such an attitude is a thin cover for right-wing politics.’
    • ‘Could there be a connection between fat pay for directors and thin returns for shareholders?’
    • ‘The film is really just a series of slickly filmed action sequences dangling off a thin plot and held together by the force of Jackson's charisma.’
    • ‘His confessions of guilt are merely a thin cover for re-emergent desires within the German ruling class.’
    • ‘Mr. Bennett also thinks that I run a pretty thin political blog and shouldn't have been nominated in that category.’
    insubstantial, flimsy, slight, feeble, lame, poor, weak, shallow, tenuous, threadbare, inadequate, insufficient
    View synonyms
    1. 5.1 (of a sound) faint and high-pitched:
      ‘a thin, reedy little voice’
      • ‘The audio is thin and pinched, with a definite canned quality.’
      • ‘Her voice was thin and reedy; her throat clicked drily as she tried to swallow.’
      • ‘Did it matter if the wee soul's voice sounded a bit thin in the recording studio, so a professional session singer was brought in to beef it up a bit?’
      • ‘The audio isn't quite as good; it sounds thin overall, but you can still easily understand all of the dialogue.’
      • ‘Her once powerful wail was gone, and in its place was a thin weeping sound that broke her mother's heart whenever she heard it.’
      • ‘His muse, whilst sounding thin and mean vocally, comes to life through her guitar.’
      • ‘The previous CDs had a thin string sound and the bass was simply not there.’
      • ‘Technically the picture is often subpar, and the sound is rather thin and tinny.’
      • ‘Then you hear them reading their poems and instead of rich and resonant voice full of authority and confidence there's a thin, reedy croak.’
      • ‘The pictures on the office wall were all of autumn landscapes, the dry leaves matched by the thin, reedy tones of the ageing former revolutionary behind the desk.’
      • ‘The sound they made was thin and their dance routines were basic.’
      • ‘If her top notes sound thin, she's matched at the other end of the scale by Paul, whose bottom notes almost disappear.’
      • ‘The string tone is thin, but the sound has an attractive warmth overall.’
      • ‘Behind that sound, hidden in it, was the thin, faint sound of a woman's distant scream, coming from inside the building.’
      • ‘His terror threatened to overwhelm him as he dived for the handlebars with a thin squeak escaping his lips.’
      • ‘His laughter was thin, though, lacking the warmth of a real man's laughter.’
      • ‘The vocals are weak and thin, more whiny than appealing.’
      • ‘But they were uncomfortable and sounded thin and tinny to my ear.’
      • ‘While dialog is always audible, the sound is thin and harsh, especially during the music.’
      • ‘It's sort of reedy and thin and breathless; she always sounds a bit too worried and self-conscious to really lose herself in the music.’
      weak, faint, feeble, small, soft, low
      View synonyms
    2. 5.2 (of a smile) weak and forced.
      • ‘Anthony and I stared at him and smiled thin smiles, desperate not to catch each other's eye.’
      • ‘Emerging from the sitting room into the hall, her smile is thin and set and she disappears immediately.’
      • ‘She gives him a thin smile and the ticket he'd given her earlier.’
      • ‘He gave me a brief, thin smile that seemed more for my benefit than his.’
      • ‘Troy's thin smile was cautious, guarded, like he was afraid of something.’
      • ‘A thin smile crossed her face as she turned back to the console.’
      • ‘One by one, in order of seniority, employees' names were called and they trooped forward to receive a thin smile and an envelope from Eloise.’
      • ‘She gave me a thin smile and turned back to whatever she was doing.’
      • ‘I stood over him, arms crossed, a thin smile on my face.’
      • ‘I especially don't want to be welcomed and have to respond to friendly questions with a thin, watery smile and inane small talk.’
      • ‘The affection in his voice made her feel a bit better and she settled back into her seat with a thin smile.’
      • ‘The invitation, offered with a thin smile, comes out of the blue.’
      • ‘Baron stifled his angry response and forced a thin smile instead.’
      • ‘Gwen nodded weakly and Hannah just gave her a small thin smile.’
      • ‘Dylan just stares blankly into the camera with a thin smile on his face.’
      • ‘I nod and manage a thin smile that offers her some comfort.’
      • ‘Isabella glanced at Audrey out of the corner of her eye, masking her surprise with a thin smile.’
      • ‘‘It was quite a nasty fall,’ he explained, a thin smile forming on his lips in recognition of the understatement.’
      • ‘She looked paler than ever, but there was a thin smile on her face.’
      • ‘He sat across from her, studying her with that thin smile.’

adverb

  • With little thickness or depth:

    ‘cut the ham as thin as possible’
    [in combination] ‘a thin-sliced loaf’
    • ‘The homemade onion rings are even better, cut thin and lightly battered so there's a nice balance between crust and juicy onion.’
    • ‘The sashimi can be wonderful, cut translucently thin and ingeniously arranged.’

verb

  • 1Make or become less dense, crowded, or numerous:

    [with object] ‘the remorseless fire of archers thinned their ranks’
    [no object] ‘the trees began to thin out’
    ‘thinning hair’
    • ‘Unable to resist such a challenge, I waited for the crowd to thin out and finally introduced myself to an attractive woman with a melodious accent.’
    • ‘The celebration continues through Sunday when the crowd begins to thin out.’
    • ‘To thin out thicker hair and give it a softer finish, Campbell prefers razor cutting over buzz cuts.’
    • ‘But when it comes to the lost causes, the inevitable setbacks, the small defeats, the crowds thin out quickly.’
    • ‘As their numbers thin out, they turn on each other, in an attempt to figure out who is the killer.’
    • ‘While they are effective, side effects can include loss of libido and bone thinning.’
    • ‘He floats down river in this fashion and before long, the trees begin to thin.’
    • ‘After a few miles our path curved away from the river, the trees thinned out, and we came upon, wonder of wonders, a proper town.’
    • ‘The crowd began to thin out but not so that the bar was entirely empty.’
    • ‘The whiting have started to thin out although the blackfish have picked up a bit.’
    • ‘Beyond here, the path dawdles up past imposing villas and more humble caprese dwellings until the houses thin out and the going gets steep.’
    • ‘They approached the first crossroad and turned right, the road soon becoming smoother and wider as the trees started to thin.’
    • ‘Perhaps the most telling sign of the night was that the crowd actually started to thin out as their set continued.’
    • ‘We'll open up at 9am and stay open until 3pm or whenever the crowds thin out.’
    • ‘I have bare patches around the edges and thinning areas in the middle.’
    • ‘At first I thought I was just imagining it, but then it became clear that the trees were thinning out.’
    • ‘As they walked, the ground gradually began to level out and the trees thinned.’
    • ‘The crowd began to thin out so early it looked as if someone had spread a rumor that the police were going to raid the place.’
    • ‘Mini-grafts of hair are harvested from the back of the head and replanted in thinning areas of hair.’
    • ‘His prodigious belly shrinks and his beard thins.’
    prune, cut back, trim
    become less dense, become less numerous, decrease, diminish, dwindle, lessen, become less in number
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with object] Remove some plants from (a row or area) to allow the others more room to grow:
      ‘thin out the rows of peas’
      • ‘Rows were thinned to provide an even plant spacing and each plant marked with a numbered stake.’
      • ‘The seedlings were later thinned to two plants per pot.’
      • ‘Seven days after sowing, each pot was thinned to 11 plants.’
      • ‘When the tops of the carrots grow thicker, thin them to about two to three inches apart.’
      • ‘When your plants start to show a couple of leaves, thin them back a little, then a little more as they get taller, until they're at least eight inches apart.’
      • ‘The plants need to be thinned to about 150 mm apart, unless you want to grow them closer together for young and tender mini-leeks.’
      • ‘It is hoped that by thinning the area around the veteran oaks, it will encourage the public to enjoy the view of the trees.’
      • ‘After germination, seedlings were thinned to five plants per pot.’
      • ‘Plants were thinned to five plants per pot after seedling emergence.’
      • ‘The rule specifically gives the U.S. Forest Service the power to build a road, fight a fire or thin an area to reduce fire risk.’
      • ‘The plants were thinned 10-12 days after germination to give an average of 20 plants, uniformly distributed per pot.’
      • ‘Try growing some in a large clay pot, thinning the seedlings as they grow to just 1 or 2 per pot.’
      • ‘If too many seedlings appear, thin the plants to about 5 inches apart.’
      • ‘Another crucial key to success is thinning seedlings, especially those that have broadcast directly into beds.’
      • ‘In all experiments, rows produced by paper-ribbon sowing were thinned to one plant per site immediately after seedling emergence.’
      • ‘The plants are best thinned to about 15 inches apart because of their spreading habit.’
      • ‘You should thin the seedlings until they are about one foot apart.’
      • ‘Do you feel guilty when you have to thin out seedlings?’
      • ‘Some of the trees have grown so fast that decisions need to be made as to whether they are to be thinned or allowed to develop into copses.’
      • ‘Seven days after planting, the seedlings were thinned to one plant per pot.’
    2. 1.2 Make or become more watery in consistency:
      [with object] ‘if the soup is too thick, add a little water to thin it down’
      [no object] ‘the blood thins’
      • ‘This thins the blood and can help to prevent the clot that is blocking the coronary artery from spreading.’
      • ‘If the policemen had questioned the mother, she could have explained that her son required regular injections to thin his blood because of a thrombosis.’
      • ‘Oil paint can be thinned to a watery consistency or brushed on with thick luscious strokes.’
      • ‘Because vitamin E can thin the blood, high doses might increase the risk of abnormal bleeding.’
      • ‘Although these drugs are sometimes called blood thinners, they do not actually thin the blood.’
      • ‘Taking supplements, even vitamin E, known to thin blood, is safe.’
      • ‘Jordan has to take aspirin every day to thin his blood, and has been told he could be on medication for the rest of his life.’
      • ‘Pureed and thinned with a little stock syrup, it makes a coulis to accompany baked lemon cheesecake or a passionfruit mousse.’
      • ‘Heat through, adding water to thin to desired consistency.’
      • ‘Warfarin protects those with heart problems by thinning the blood in order to prevent clotting.’
      • ‘Aspirin has been used to treat heart disease because it thins blood and prevents clots.’
      • ‘Add enough water to thin the consistency of the dressing so it can be drizzled over salad.’
      • ‘A side effect common to all anticoagulants is the risk of excessive bleeding, due to the blood being thinned.’
      • ‘Neither would I want to give them large amounts of garlic, which thins blood in a similar way.’
      • ‘Aspirin's ability to thin the blood has led to its use in preventing heart attacks and strokes.’
      • ‘I have had heart bypass surgery and am on medication to thin my blood.’
      • ‘The chemical, salicylic acid, is an active ingredient in aspirin, which is known to thin the blood and reduce the risk of heart disease and bowel cancer.’
      • ‘Specialists can diagnose the condition with a simple blood test, and treatment normally includes medication to thin the blood.’
      • ‘Although the benefits of ginkgo are not clearly understood, it is believed that it may improve blood flow to the brain by thinning the blood.’
      • ‘Garlic also thins the blood - so be aware it may increase bleeding.’
      dilute, water down, weaken
      View synonyms
  • 2Make or become smaller in thickness:

    [with object] ‘their effect in thinning the ozone layer is probably slowing the global warming trend’
    • ‘The ash is local in occurrence; its maximum thickness is about 1m, but it thins laterally to a few tens of centimetres over about 40 m.’
    • ‘Over the past 40 years, the Arctic ice pack has thinned and shrunk significantly.’
    • ‘The body reaches a thickness of 80 m at Hagevatnet and thins towards the south.’
    • ‘Posteriorly, the pterygoid thins to less than 1 mm in thickness.’
    • ‘The sheet has a maximum thickness of 4 meters at the south end of Flint Ridge State Memorial and an average thickness of 1.5 meters, thinning toward the edges.’
    • ‘Many doom and gloom headlines often scream about the ozone layer thinning over the poles, and this has given some people the idea that ozone is a harmless gas that protects us from the rays of the sun.’
    • ‘Since 1978 Arctic sea ice area has shrunk by some 9 percent per decade, and thinned as well.’
    • ‘This video shows the Antarctic ozone layer thinning during 1998, reaching its thinnest in the southern spring.’
    • ‘At Kimmeridge 3, the sandstone body maintains its thickness before thinning rapidly toward Southard Quarry.’
    • ‘Today Science tells us the speed of light is decaying, the magnetic field is collapsing, the earth is slowly beginning to wobble on its axis, the protective ozone layer is thinning.’
  • 3Golf
    [with object] Hit (a ball) above its centre.

    • ‘The other important moment of his round came soon after noon, when first he mishit his five-iron on the 17th, then thinned the ensuing bunker shot.’
    • ‘Disaster strikes when he thins his pitch from the rough beside the 10th green all the way across the putting surface.’
    • ‘The lie was not great and the shot was slightly thinned, the ball finishing as much as 40 feet past the cup.’
    • ‘That was as close to the ball as you can get without thinning it.’

Phrases

  • have a thin time

    • informal Have an unpleasant period or experience.

      • ‘The art market is generally having a thin time, but is the same true at the very top end?’
      • ‘The men in green have had a thin time of it recently with injuries and absences stretching the squad to its limit.’
      • ‘Our orchestras are having a thin time of it, and there is genuine concern as to how many orchestras will exist ten years from now.’
      • ‘Many Mexican-Americans in the border states were heavily Indian in ancestry, so Mexicans in the United States had a thin time of it.’
      • ‘As elsewhere in the region, racing had a thin time during World War I and took time to recover.’
      • ‘Vegetarians can have a thin time in this beefy country, though Indian and Italian restaurants are some help, and cheese and eggs are always available.’
      • ‘Actually the Conservatives had a thin time of it in the 19th century, a time when the electorate was restricted by property and house holding qualifications, the party won few elections and, except at the turn of the century, had few extended periods in office.’
      • ‘But cheerleaders for pluralism have a thin time of it these days.’
      • ‘As the twentieth century draws to a close, connoisseurs of colonial nostalgia are, unsurprisingly, having a thin time of it.’
      • ‘So we are having a thin time of it, and we'll have to tighten our belt buckles.’
  • on thin ice

    • In a precarious or risky situation:

      ‘you're skating on thin ice’
      • ‘When you deal with this subject you skate on thin ice.’
      • ‘The young bachelor was treading on thin ice after showing up two and a half hours late.’
      • ‘I'm already treading on thin ice because of my out-spokenness.’
      • ‘Lea knew for some time she was on thin ice but that didn't seem to stop her.’
      • ‘As far as her film career goes, Courtney is skating on thin ice.’
      • ‘He is on thin ice here, but he is smart enough, and gutsy enough to get away with it.’
      • ‘His reign has been very controversial and he is on thin ice already.’
      • ‘Like the rest of the field, Woods was swinging on thin ice, knowing that the slightest false step or slice of misfortune would draw blood.’
      • ‘Developers who want to build 71 houses on the site of Altrincham Ice Rink could be skating on thin ice.’
      • ‘The agencies are putting GM and Ford on thin ice with ratings just barely above junk bond status.’
  • thin air

    • Used to refer to the state of being invisible or non-existent:

      ‘she just vanished into thin air’
      • ‘We've seen in the collapse of many technology companies that figures were plucked out of thin air.’
      • ‘Immorality prevails as sympathy for the unfortunate diminishes into thin air.’
      • ‘Teaching unions have also joined force to ask how millions of pounds have seemingly disappeared into thin air.’
      • ‘I don't think I can conjure up the kind of detail required out of thin air.’
      • ‘Surely all these people didn't just pluck these things out of thin air and just put them down on paper!’
      • ‘He disappears, as if into thin air, leaving me clutching his money in one hand and mine in the other.’
      • ‘They all thought I was so smart but little did they know that I pulled that answer from thin air.’
      • ‘None of this stuff is new, and who's to say it won't all vanish into thin air?’
      • ‘In any event, it was a bravura performance, a long extempore speech, apparently pulled out of thin air.’
      • ‘The museum's alarm went off, but by the time police arrived the culprits had disappeared into thin air.’
  • the thin blue line

    • informal Used to refer to the police, typically in the context of maintaining order during unrest:

      ‘the thin blue line holds the frontier between chaos and civilian life, between crime and the American dream’
      • ‘But the thin blue line will be stretched thinner than ever - at least 2,000 officers will cover the main rally in July, more than one in eight of all the officers in Scotland.’
      • ‘Jack, who retired last Friday from Leigh's community policing team, has been treading the thin blue line since 1974.’
      • ‘Every weekend, a group of twenty-somethings turn their backs on Swindon's clubs, pubs and bars to help boost the thin blue line.’
      • ‘Look at the tough new border controls and the co-ordination of European police forces manning the thin blue line against the horde.’
      • ‘Ex-policemen across Bury are being asked to strengthen the thin blue line.’
      • ‘People living in rural areas need to take precautions and taking care also helps the police - the thin blue line in the countryside.’
      • ‘Once the thin blue line defending a society's fundamental values, the police have now grotesquely turned into a weapon against them.’
      • ‘Her description of the thin blue line that stands between the public and chaos looks different from the one portrayed on television.’
      • ‘The repainted patrol cars and bright yellow jackets may seem gimmicky to those who favour the traditional image of the thin blue line.’
      • ‘His self-assurance, generated by his exalted status within the department, is complete; it's what guides him during his regular sorties across the thin blue line, from order into chaos and back again.’
  • thin end of the wedge

  • thin on the ground

  • thin on top

    • informal Balding:

      ‘Eddie noticed he was getting thin on top’
      • ‘I bought him a toupee once because he is a bit thin on top.’
      • ‘By the way, isn't Tommy going really thin on top?’
      • ‘He was little, probably a little bit shorter then Adrian and he was a little thin on top.’
      • ‘It has been said that a large proportion of body heat lost is through the head and, if you are as thin on top as I am, it is not difficult to believe, so wear a hat.’
      • ‘Boys, you may have noticed I'm no longer going a bit thin on top.’
      • ‘I don't care that he's going thin on top or thick in the middle.’
      • ‘And have you noticed that Ed is looking a little thin on top?’
      • ‘He's going very thin on top, though, which must be worrying.’
      • ‘She said particular attention should be paid to shoulders and the backs of feet - the most sensitive areas - while men going thin on top should always wear a hat or use sunblock.’
      • ‘He was described as 5ft 7in tall, in his 40s or 50s, with light-coloured hair, which was thin on top.’
      losing one's hair, thinning, with receding hair
      View synonyms

Origin

Old English thynne, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch dun and German dünn, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin tenuis.

Pronunciation

thin

/θɪn/