Definition of thinly in English:



  • 1In a way that creates a thin piece or layer of something.

    ‘thinly sliced potatoes’
    ‘thinly spread mustard over the meat’
    ‘a board covered thinly with flour’
    • ‘Quarter and peel the onions and slice thinly.’
    • ‘I can't see the fire but smoke hangs thinly everywhere, especially around the lights.’
    • ‘Geometric shapes in variegated colors form the center of a crude cross enclosed in a thinly outlined yellow circle.’
    • ‘Thinly applied paint dries in a matter of minutes.’
    • ‘The sheet of copper had been very thinly plated with silver.’
  • 2With little flesh or fat on the body.

    ‘he was tall and thinly built’
    • ‘On examination, she was thinly built, anxious, conscious, and well oriented.’
    • ‘One man is around 6 feet tall and thinly built.’
    • ‘He was fair haired and brown eyed, thinly built and only an inch or so taller than his sister.’
    • ‘Thinly built, with thick glasses and cheap clothes, he is as cheery as he is modest.’
    • ‘The boy was no more than 18 and thinly built.’
  • 3With few parts or people relative to the area covered or filled; sparsely.

    ‘resources are stretched thinly’
    ‘people were thinly spread throughout the square’
    ‘his thinly attended campaign launch’
    • ‘Several thousand people were in the vicinity, thinly dispersed over the immense terrain.’
    • ‘The city's thinly strung but intensely hyped "museum mile" was disappointing.’
    • ‘The sterility of the suburban environment gives way to the arid, thinly populated desert.’
    • ‘Linguistically, Norway is a curious country, with only about four and a half million inhabitants scattered thinly along its huge length.’
    • ‘The half-hour episodes from assorted years are very thinly spread across the first four discs.’
  • 4In a way that lacks strength, substance, or quality; weakly.

    ‘the sun shines only thinly through a veil of water’
    ‘a mishmash of thinly sketched characters’
    ‘a thinly disguised autobiographical novel’
    • ‘The real buzz around the book was that its cogent (if thinly fictionalized) look at the presidential campaign smacked of an insider.’
    • ‘At least there aren't any obvious product placements or thinly veiled morality lessons.’
    • ‘What I'm trying to do is make sure that I don't end up spreading myself too thinly.’
    • ‘The film is set during the 1930s, at an unnamed school, a thinly disguised version of Eton.’
    • ‘She never seems to find her character, which isn't surprising, considering how thinly it is written.’
    1. 4.1 In a weak and forced manner.
      ‘the doctor smiled thinly’
      • ‘"Why not launch a heavy metal competition show?" The head of entertainment laughs thinly at this.’
      • ‘Smiling thinly, the professor said in a deceivingly sweet voice, "Now, what do we have here?"’
      • ‘He looked up as we entered and smiled thinly.’
      • ‘She was grinning thinly when he walked over.’
      • ‘A rather snooty guy examined our premiere tickets, and then he smiled thinly and let us go in.’