Definition of meager in US English:

meager

(British meagre)

adjective

  • 1(of something provided or available) lacking in quantity or quality.

    ‘they were forced to supplement their meager earnings’
    ‘a meager diet of bread and beans’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Its meager light provided the group its only means of illumination.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The big winner (or big loser, depending on your perspective) wins $50,000, a suitably meagre sum for a Canadian game show.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘Earnings on this level fall to a meagre three cents a share.’
    • ‘He had laid off some heavy bets recently and his meagre earnings as a postman would not cover them.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All the same he would queue up with the other drones for hours to receive his meagre earnings.’
    • ‘Its greatest weakness is its meager budget and limited scope.’
    • ‘The profligate US government, it was said, could not finance its deficits from the meager savings of its people, thereby necessitating borrowing from abroad.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Shadowy clouds completely obscured the moon, leaving a meager handful of stars to vainly attempt to provide light.’
    • ‘Through the solid floor of the abode, the chill of winter seeped in, fettered little by the meagre warmth provided by the fire.’
    • ‘While they wait for the train, the prisoners eat their meager ration of bread.’
    • ‘And from what I've seen, you're pretty content with your meagre wardrobe.’
    • ‘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.’
    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, beggarly
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    1. 1.1 (of a person or animal) lean; thin.
      ‘a tall, meager man’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She seemed so meagre and weak, like her body had lost that glow.’
      • ‘We had no idea who she was, and only her meager profile gave proof that she was in fact female beneath the armor.’
      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, anorexic
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Origin

Middle English (in the sense ‘lean’): from Old French maigre, from Latin macer.

Pronunciation

meager

/ˈmēɡər//ˈmiɡər/