Definition of scanty in US English:



  • 1Small or insufficient in quantity or amount.

    ‘scanty wages’
    • ‘All focus at present is on water, may it be due to termination of water accords or failure of monsoon or scattered, scanty rain, scarce power to operate tubewells.’
    • ‘He may not have broken any laws but it is clear that what scanty guidelines exist to control patronage and cronyism were stretched at will to accommodate his ‘suggestions’.’
    • ‘The evidence was relatively scanty, but much depended on the interpretation of the statute of Edward II that defined treason in terms of ‘compassing or imagining the death of the King’.’
    • ‘Ignoring palaeological niceties, some ‘human’ skeletons have been dated at around two million years old and provide us with much of the scanty evidence we have concerning the evolution of our species.’
    • ‘She said details of the case were ‘highly unusual’ and a note about the promised investment was ‘extraordinarily scanty by any standards’.’
    • ‘The 152 deaths on which they would be trying to contact the families of those involved were ones in which there was scanty evidence, in most cases nothing beyond a copy of the register of deaths.’
    • ‘Any woman now seems to be able to make such a complaint and to be believed, with incredibly scanty evidence.’
    • ‘And, in our respectful submission, the evidence, scanty though it be, is all one way for there is no evidence at all which would support a contractual intention of the variety contended for by my learned friend.’
    • ‘A double-digit rise in the welfare budget for two consecutive years is also inevitable, considering both the widening income gap and scanty social safety net.’
    • ‘Out of 36 meteorological sub-divisions in the country, 16 sub-divisions have received deficient or scanty rainfall so far, he said.’
    • ‘A long-term decline in police-neighborhood relations may well have occurred, but direct evidence is scanty, while other factors also weakened these relations.’
    • ‘The Great Basin, so called because its scanty water doesn't drain to any sea, is mostly a terrain of north-south-running ranges, sharp-edged raw geology, separated by flat expanses of sagebrush.’
    • ‘The desert ecosystem poses difficult problems - the forest area is scanty with poor growth of vegetation.’
    • ‘This is exactly what one would expect from the linguistic evidence and the written record, scanty though the latter is.’
    • ‘Although this seems reasonable, the evidence offered is scanty.’
    • ‘If Aboriginal numbers in 1788 were at the higher end of the estimated range, this epidemic would have been the chief killer, but information is scanty in the extreme.’
    • ‘Estimates of children with ADHD range from one to 20 percent, partly due to scanty evidence provided by inadequate surveys.’
    • ‘Only scanty information could be gleaned from POWs.’
    • ‘The teachable moment came a couple of days into the workshop when one villager, reporting for his small discussion group, acknowledged that his report was scanty.’
    • ‘His scanty remarks are limited to generalities.’
    meagre, scant, minimal, limited, modest, restricted, sparse
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    1. 1.1 (of clothing) revealing; skimpy.
      ‘the women looked cold in their scanty gowns’
      • ‘He stands there, a pretty, slightly vacuous woman dressed in rather scanty clothing standing next to him.’
      • ‘The wearing of scanty dress away from the beaches is not welcomed, nor is immodest dress inside of churches.’
      • ‘Rick shivered as a dry southern wind blew across the buildings of the city, ruffling his scanty clothing and causing him to gaze about in worry.’
      • ‘Unlike myself, my sister had adapted to the fashion of the day, and her scanty blouse and short skirt left little to the imagination.’
      • ‘In villages, the central area is where the chiefly lineage lives and people must show respect by not wearing scanty dress, hats, sunglasses, garlands, or shoulder bags, and by not speaking or laughing boisterously.’
      • ‘It hurts to see young girls dressed in scanty clothes being taken advantage of by older boys after getting drunk.’
      • ‘Suzie, a pretty, slightly vacuous woman dressed in rather scanty clothing, stands there.’
      • ‘The fabrics selected for this collection have something of the 1600's courtesan, though the dresses and skirts are quite scanty.’
      • ‘Then Aurora noticed the scanty slip dress and strappy heels she was wearing and decided that the girl didn't look so angelic anymore.’
      • ‘She now saw a lot more girls wearing tight jeans and scanty shirts.’
      • ‘A thong is not a piece of scanty swimwear, as in America, but a fine example of Australian footwear.’
      • ‘Teenage boys are more likely to be attracted by her scanty clothing and big guns.’
      • ‘I didn't bring much, seeing as we were only staying for a few days, but I did bring a variety of scanty clothing that I would be wearing at the party.’
      • ‘We made our way into the lobby, where about a million other giggly, screaming girls dressed in ridiculously scanty things were frolicking.’
      • ‘They say the boots are the perfect finishing touch for their artificial tans, bleached hair, white make-up and bright scanty skirts.’
      • ‘No food, no clogs and their poor bodies barely covered with scanty clothing, how can they give their minds to their lessons?’
      • ‘For the next couple of months tuck away the scanty summer wear and the thin knit winter wear to make room for the monsoon gear.’
      • ‘Yes, form-fitting clothing may be necessary to demonstrate proper technique, but scanty clothing may send a negative message.’
      • ‘Am I to understand your primary concern in this matter is that you and your arty male colleagues will be exposed as the ‘type’ of men who ogle women in scanty spring dresses?’
      skimpy, revealing, short, brief
      View synonyms

plural noun

  • Brief underpants.

    • ‘A few years ago one great British institution moved from selling sensible big pants to scanties.’
    • ‘When Wray pulls on a flimsy robe to cover her scanties to answer the door, gentleman caller Raft tries to make a move on her.’
    • ‘He looked at her skimpy scanties and said, ‘I can't get into these.’’
    • ‘There are some ladies' scanties suspended in picture frames and looking remarkably like an in-store display.’
    • ‘Along the way there's a lot of booty-shaking from glamorous assistants and some dazzling close-up magic, not least a perplexing trick in which Whistler's mother is stripped to her scanties.’
    • ‘So, Rachel… he's going off to be alone for a minute with pictures of you in your scanties…’
    • ‘I made them stand in their scanties and subjected them to the gaze of men with tape measures.’
    • ‘In a later, postcoital bedroom scene, where the couple watches TV in their scanties, Tom, snuggling, exults that he hasn't ‘felt this way for a long time.’’
    • ‘Unbuckling the large silver dolphin clasp on her black leather belt and rolling down well-cut designer trousers, she reveals cream lace scanties and a flat, perfectly tanned stomach, toasted pale gold.’


Late 16th century: from scant + -y.