Definition of thin in English:

thin

adjective

  • 1Having opposite surfaces or sides close together; of little thickness or depth.

    ‘thin slices of bread’
    • ‘The pudding is made by lining a buttered basin with fairly thin slices of good bread cut to fit exactly.’
    • ‘These traditional Italian style pizzas are thin and crisp and loaded with delicate, subtle flavours and topped with mozzarella cheese.’
    • ‘To serve, place the salmon skin side down and slice horizontally into thin pieces.’
    • ‘He shook his head and pressed his lips together in a thin line.’
    • ‘Another method of treatment is acupuncture, which involves the insertion of thin needles into the body to regulate and redirect the flow of qi.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 keypad lights up a shaded blue, and the buttons are thin and stylish.’
    • ‘Creeping plants such as the ivy may be joined together by thin wire.’
    • ‘There is a relatively thin crust of ice, but most of the water is liquid.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Only a thin layer at the surface thaws during summer.’
    • ‘Once you have bunched four or five sprigs together, wind thin wire around the cluster, leaving a one-inch spike at the bottom.’
    • ‘The key lime was pleasantly tart, on a nice thin crust.’
    • ‘The thin bark had been stripped all the way around for two to three feet.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The stations were separated by thin partitions and the side walls were painted drywall.’
    wafer-thin, paper-thin, papery
    narrow, fine, pencil-thin, thread-like, attenuated
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a person) having little, or too little, flesh or fat on their body.
      ‘she was painfully thin’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was thin and weak, and his voice was almost inaudible despite the relative quiet of a teaching hospital side room.’
      • ‘His baggy black clothing made him look thin and weak.’
      • ‘He got thin and weak and seeing my father like this was not the easiest of experiences in my life.’
      • ‘His face was just a little pale and he was thin; nowhere close to looking starved, but he was thinner than he should be.’
      • ‘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 thin but far from weak and stood about six-foot tall.’
      • ‘The director is tall and thin with good posture, and he appears neither old nor young.’
      • ‘I see a thin, bearded guy wearing a thick turtleneck sweater, spooning coffee into a mug in his small flat, scowling at the newspaper.’
      • ‘She is skeletally thin, with hollow, cadaverous eyes and cheeks.’
      • ‘Lily, on the other hand, was dark headed, short but thin, and relatively quiet.’
      • ‘If you're naturally thin, you might fill out a little more after puberty, but then again, you might not.’
      • ‘Rakishly thin, he wore tattered cords that rode half way up his skeleton legs.’
      • ‘He was already walking a fine line between thin and skeletal when we met, but now he just looks ill.’
      • ‘She looked very thin, weak and pale and was shivering.’
      • ‘And the public wonders why people in the fashion industry are so thin!’
      • ‘It was a woman, tall and thin, smiling and leaning against a fence.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘I almost felt sorry for Nicola, who's grown painfully thin.’
      slim, lean, slender, rangy, willowy, svelte, sylphlike, spare, slight
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (of a garment or other knitted or woven item) made of light material for coolness or elegance.
      • ‘A thin, translucent organza material partially hid the silver tasseled white sheets from view.’
      • ‘The weather was fairly warm for Spring, so the boys were fine in their thin clothing.’
      • ‘The neckline curved down low, and was layered under a thin see-through material that shimmered.’
      • ‘Only thin sleeves split down the inside covered her arms.’
      • ‘The cigarette burned a hole in Adam's thin sleeve and stung his arm.’
      • ‘He was smiling openly at her, wearing just a thin shirt and trousers.’
      • ‘Wear layers of thin clothes rather than one thick layer - the warmth from your body will get trapped between the layers, keeping you warmer.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Spraying repellent on clothing can be useful, as mosquitoes can bite through thin fabrics.’
      • ‘Her own shoes were so thin, and her steps so graceful that they hardly made a sound.’
      • ‘Her veil was thin, and woven and accommodated little sprinkles everywhere.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And the thin jacket she'd worn did nothing to ward off the distinct chill that heralded coming rain.’
      • ‘The dress was long, but the thin material was light and loose, making it easy to walk and move.’
      • ‘She wore a thin shirt, and long skirt, with high heels to make her seem taller.’
      • ‘His muscular chest was well defined through the thin shirt he wore.’
      • ‘The ground was very wet and I felt it almost at once through my thin boots.’
      • ‘Will ran towards the outer courtyard, Sibyl in close pursuit, noticeably slowed down by her thin shoes and bulky dress.’
      • ‘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.’
      lightweight, light, fine, delicate, floaty, flimsy, diaphanous, gossamer, insubstantial
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    3. 1.3 (of a garment) having had a considerable amount of fabric worn away.
      • ‘They both were wearing very thin shirts with a ton of holes in them.’
      • ‘His too-big jeans were ripped in the knees, and his tee shirt was worn into a thin fabric.’
      worn, well worn, old, worn out, holey, moth-eaten, mangy, ragged, frayed, tattered, battered
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 (of script or type) 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 few parts or members relative to the area covered or filled; sparse.

    ‘a depressingly thin crowd’
    ‘his hair was going thin’
    • ‘Their fur was thickest in patches on the head and groin, elsewhere it was thin and limited.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Others argue that allied troops are too thin on the ground to make any difference.’
    • ‘The forest started to looked thinner, and he thought he'd found something.’
    sparse, scanty, wispy, thinning
    meagre, paltry, poor, inadequate, insufficient, sparse, scanty, scattered
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Not dense.
      ‘the thin cold air of the mountains’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Winding down My head ached, and my throat was dry from the dehydrating effects of flying, and too much cold, thin air.’
      • ‘The route itself can be slick and frozen over, and exhausted runners may be prone to hypothermia in the thin, cold air.’
      • ‘So some astronomers are quite keen to set up their instruments in Antarctica to take advantage of the thin, cold air.’
      • ‘In addition, she suffers from asthma, which makes mountain races, where the air is thin, particularly difficult.’
      • ‘Its average elevation is 13,000 feet, making the air rather thin and cold, and ten peaks top 20,000 feet.’
      • ‘She said she had recently hiked for four days in the thin air of Yosemite National Park.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She has trained at Flagstaff in Arizona, again using the thin air at high altitude to stretch her limbs and clear her mind.’
      • ‘You are about 27,000 feet up in the Earth's atmosphere, the air is thin, you are using an oxygen tank.’
      • ‘The air is so thin it is incapable of supporting life.’
      • ‘Therefore, the air is thin, dry and your body receives about 50 percent less oxygen than at sea level.’
      • ‘A thin veil of fog had rolled in off the bay, obscuring his view and coating the area in a pale gray-white mist.’
      • ‘The air is thin up there, and only the most able should attempt to scale those peaks.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Such journeying to cold, high places where the air is thin requires lengthy preparation for the most severe conditions conceivable.’
    2. 2.2 Containing much liquid and not much solid substance.
      ‘thin soup’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Yet, there really was nothing unusual about the soup, merely a thin beef broth with onions.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If you are one of those frailer and more malnourished types, you should eat light nourishing soups or thin rice porridge.’
      • ‘In a dark corner, two fighters are dozing while a thin potato and lamb soup simmers on the stove.’
      • ‘In several test tubes and bottles were thin, multicolored liquids.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If no frank perforation is seen, thin barium liquid should be used to identify lacerations that may otherwise be missed.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Rarely, a patient may be limited to foods with a pudding consistency if thin and thick liquids are freely aspirated.’
      • ‘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 surrounding tissue swells up and thin pus leaks through narrow passages called sinuses onto the surface of the skin.’
      • ‘A thin cornmeal soup was frequently made, to which pieces of meat, fish, or other foods could be added.’
      • ‘He invited the wealthy man to dinner, which consisted of old hard bread and thin vegetable soup.’
      • ‘They can vary in size and contain liquid that is thin and watery, or thicker and paste-like.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Do not swallow anything until it is a thin liquid pulp.’
      watery, watered down, weak, dilute, diluted, thinned down
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3Mountaineering Denoting a route on which the holds are small or scarce.
      • ‘This is a shoe that excels when face climbing or thin crack climbing.’
      • ‘Follow the thin right fork through to easier ground and the top.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 3(of a sound) faint and high-pitched.

    ‘a thin, reedy little voice’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Behind that sound, hidden in it, was the thin, faint sound of a woman's distant scream, coming from inside the building.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If her top notes sound thin, she's matched at the other end of the scale by Paul, whose bottom notes almost disappear.’
    • ‘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 string tone is thin, but the sound has an attractive warmth overall.’
    • ‘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 laughter was thin, though, lacking the warmth of a real man's laughter.’
    • ‘The audio isn't quite as good; it sounds thin overall, but you can still easily understand all of the dialogue.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The previous CDs had a thin string sound and the bass was simply not there.’
    • ‘The audio is thin and pinched, with a definite canned quality.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Her voice was thin and reedy; her throat clicked drily as she tried to swallow.’
    • ‘Technically the picture is often subpar, and the sound is rather thin and tinny.’
    • ‘The vocals are weak and thin, more whiny than appealing.’
    • ‘The sound they made was thin and their dance routines were basic.’
    • ‘His muse, whilst sounding thin and mean vocally, comes to life through her guitar.’
    • ‘His terror threatened to overwhelm him as he dived for the handlebars with a thin squeak escaping his lips.’
    weak, faint, feeble, small, soft, low
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    1. 3.1 (of a smile) weak and forced.
      • ‘He gave me a brief, thin smile that seemed more for my benefit than his.’
      • ‘‘It was quite a nasty fall,’ he explained, a thin smile forming on his lips in recognition of the understatement.’
      • ‘Anthony and I stared at him and smiled thin smiles, desperate not to catch each other's eye.’
      • ‘Troy's thin smile was cautious, guarded, like he was afraid of something.’
      • ‘He sat across from her, studying her with that thin smile.’
      • ‘She looked paler than ever, but there was a thin smile on her face.’
      • ‘The affection in his voice made her feel a bit better and she settled back into her seat with a thin smile.’
      • ‘I nod and manage a thin smile that offers her some comfort.’
      • ‘She gave me a thin smile and turned back to whatever she was doing.’
      • ‘I especially don't want to be welcomed and have to respond to friendly questions with a thin, watery smile and inane small talk.’
      • ‘Gwen nodded weakly and Hannah just gave her a small thin smile.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A thin smile crossed her face as she turned back to the console.’
      • ‘The invitation, offered with a thin smile, comes out of the blue.’
      • ‘Emerging from the sitting room into the hall, her smile is thin and set and she disappears immediately.’
      • ‘Baron stifled his angry response and forced a thin smile instead.’
      • ‘Isabella glanced at Audrey out of the corner of her eye, masking her surprise with a thin smile.’
      • ‘She gives him a thin smile and the ticket he'd given her earlier.’
      • ‘I stood over him, arms crossed, a thin smile on my face.’
      • ‘Dylan just stares blankly into the camera with a thin smile on his face.’
    2. 3.2 Too weak to justify a result or effect; inadequate.
      ‘the evidence is rather thin’
      • ‘The supplements on Disc Two are surprisingly thin and lacking in substance.’
      • ‘Mr. Bennett also thinks that I run a pretty thin political blog and shouldn't have been nominated in that category.’
      • ‘Densely plotted and vividly acted, the film's abundance of ideas and intrigue wind up stretched perilously thin.’
      • ‘My only gripe is that, for the price, it's a little on the thin side.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was their speed receiver, and his departure leaves them thin at the position.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Such an attitude is a thin cover for right-wing politics.’
      • ‘But as a reason to renounce my citizenship, it's a thin one.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The focus on each is spread a bit too thin, so the connections between them are never clear enough.’
      • ‘Could there be a connection between fat pay for directors and thin returns for shareholders?’
      • ‘This form, music video, paired popular songs with series of incoherent images held together by thin narratives.’
      • ‘His confessions of guilt are merely a thin cover for re-emergent desires within the German ruling class.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He also tried to dispel the belief that the government had a thin legislative agenda.’
      insubstantial, flimsy, slight, feeble, lame, poor, weak, shallow, tenuous, threadbare, inadequate, insufficient
      View synonyms

adverb

  • [often in combination] With little thickness or depth.

    ‘thin-sliced ham’
    ‘cut it as thin as possible’
    • ‘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’
    • ‘He floats down river in this fashion and before long, the trees begin to thin.’
    • ‘Perhaps the most telling sign of the night was that the crowd actually started to thin out as their set continued.’
    • ‘The crowd began to thin out but not so that the bar was entirely empty.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As their numbers thin out, they turn on each other, in an attempt to figure out who is the killer.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We'll open up at 9am and stay open until 3pm or whenever the crowds thin out.’
    • ‘Beyond here, the path dawdles up past imposing villas and more humble caprese dwellings until the houses thin out and the going gets steep.’
    • ‘While they are effective, side effects can include loss of libido and bone thinning.’
    • ‘His prodigious belly shrinks and his beard thins.’
    • ‘The celebration continues through Sunday when the crowd begins to thin out.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I have bare patches around the edges and thinning areas in the middle.’
    • ‘But when it comes to the lost causes, the inevitable setbacks, the small defeats, the crowds thin out quickly.’
    • ‘Mini-grafts of hair are harvested from the back of the head and replanted in thinning areas of hair.’
    • ‘They approached the first crossroad and turned right, the road soon becoming smoother and wider as the trees started to thin.’
    • ‘To thin out thicker hair and give it a softer finish, Campbell prefers razor cutting over buzz cuts.’
    • ‘The whiting have started to thin out although the blackfish have picked up a bit.’
    • ‘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.’
    become less dense, become less numerous, decrease, diminish, dwindle, lessen, become less in number
    prune, cut back, trim
    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 overwintered rows of peas’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The plants are best thinned to about 15 inches apart because of their spreading habit.’
      • ‘Seven days after sowing, each pot was thinned to 11 plants.’
      • ‘Rows were thinned to provide an even plant spacing and each plant marked with a numbered stake.’
      • ‘Seven days after planting, the seedlings were thinned to one plant per pot.’
      • ‘When the tops of the carrots grow thicker, thin them to about two to three inches apart.’
      • ‘After germination, seedlings were thinned to five plants per pot.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Another crucial key to success is thinning seedlings, especially those that have broadcast directly into beds.’
      • ‘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 need to be thinned to about 150 mm apart, unless you want to grow them closer together for young and tender mini-leeks.’
      • ‘You should thin the seedlings until they are about one foot apart.’
      • ‘It is hoped that by thinning the area around the veteran oaks, it will encourage the public to enjoy the view of the trees.’
      • ‘In all experiments, rows produced by paper-ribbon sowing were thinned to one plant per site immediately after seedling emergence.’
      • ‘The seedlings were later thinned to two plants per pot.’
      • ‘Try growing some in a large clay pot, thinning the seedlings as they grow to just 1 or 2 per pot.’
      • ‘The plants were thinned 10-12 days after germination to give an average of 20 plants, uniformly distributed per pot.’
      • ‘Plants were thinned to five plants per pot after seedling emergence.’
      • ‘If too many seedlings appear, thin the plants to about 5 inches apart.’
      • ‘Do you feel guilty when you have to thin out seedlings?’
    2. 1.2 Make or become weaker or more watery.
      [with object] ‘if the soup is too thick, add a little water to thin it down’
      [no object] ‘the blood thins’
      • ‘Because vitamin E can thin the blood, high doses might increase the risk of abnormal bleeding.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Heat through, adding water to thin to desired consistency.’
      • ‘Oil paint can be thinned to a watery consistency or brushed on with thick luscious strokes.’
      • ‘Add enough water to thin the consistency of the dressing so it can be drizzled over salad.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Pureed and thinned with a little stock syrup, it makes a coulis to accompany baked lemon cheesecake or a passionfruit mousse.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This thins the blood and can help to prevent the clot that is blocking the coronary artery from spreading.’
      • ‘Warfarin protects those with heart problems by thinning the blood in order to prevent clotting.’
      • ‘Aspirin's ability to thin the blood has led to its use in preventing heart attacks and strokes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Although these drugs are sometimes called blood thinners, they do not actually thin the blood.’
      • ‘I have had heart bypass surgery and am on medication to thin my blood.’
      • ‘Aspirin has been used to treat heart disease because it thins blood and prevents clots.’
      • ‘Specialists can diagnose the condition with a simple blood test, and treatment normally includes medication to thin the blood.’
      • ‘Neither would I want to give them large amounts of garlic, which thins blood in a similar way.’
      • ‘A side effect common to all anticoagulants is the risk of excessive bleeding, due to the blood being thinned.’
      • ‘Taking supplements, even vitamin E, known to thin blood, is safe.’
      • ‘Garlic also thins the blood - so be aware it may increase bleeding.’
      dilute, water down, weaken
      View synonyms
  • 2Make or become smaller in width or thickness.

    [with object] ‘their effect in thinning the ozone layer is probably slowing the global warming trend’
    [no object] ‘the trees have thinned and diminished in size’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Over the past 40 years, the Arctic ice pack has thinned and shrunk significantly.’
    • ‘Since 1978 Arctic sea ice area has shrunk by some 9 percent per decade, and thinned as well.’
    • ‘The body reaches a thickness of 80 m at Hagevatnet and thins towards the south.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Posteriorly, the pterygoid thins to less than 1 mm in thickness.’
    • ‘At Kimmeridge 3, the sandstone body maintains its thickness before thinning rapidly toward Southard Quarry.’
    • ‘This video shows the Antarctic ozone layer thinning during 1998, reaching its thinnest in the southern spring.’
    • ‘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 center.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘That was as close to the ball as you can get without thinning it.’
    • ‘The lie was not great and the shot was slightly thinned, the ball finishing as much as 40 feet past the cup.’

Phrases

  • on thin ice

    • In a precarious or risky situation.

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

    • Used to refer to the state of being invisible or nonexistent.

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

    • informal Used to refer to the police, typically in the context of situations of civil unrest.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Her description of the thin blue line that stands between the public and chaos looks different from the one portrayed on television.’
      • ‘Jack, who retired last Friday from Leigh's community policing team, has been treading the thin blue line since 1974.’
      • ‘Once the thin blue line defending a society's fundamental values, the police have now grotesquely turned into a weapon against them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The repainted patrol cars and bright yellow jackets may seem gimmicky to those who favour the traditional image of 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.’
  • thin end of the wedge

    • informal An action or procedure of little importance in itself, but likely to lead to more serious developments.

      • ‘It clearly isn't, as they claim, the thin end of the wedge.’
      • ‘He said: ‘I had one meeting with an angling club and met with a bit of aggression, as they saw it as the thin end of the wedge.’’
      • ‘It has been put to me that this is the thin end of the wedge.’
      • ‘But unions representing the 1,500 workers at the service say they are deeply sceptical about the proposals and fear it is the thin end of the wedge in a privatisation drive.’
      • ‘He added: ‘The Government will need to intervene if this is taking place because it will be the thin end of the wedge for rural services.’’
      • ‘Any element of the built environment introduced into that field would simply be the thin end of the wedge and a potential disaster for the retention of the green belt between Ilkley and Burley-in-Wharfedale.’
      • ‘If this happens a lot of people will assume it's the thin end of the wedge.’
      • ‘‘It's the thin end of the wedge,’ warned Mr Stancliffe.’
      • ‘They fear that having the three services in the same building is the thin end of the wedge to ‘multi-skilling’, and jobs could be lost if operators handle calls for all three services.’
      • ‘But he has praised shared campuses - seen by some as the thin end of the wedge - where Catholic and Protestant children are taught separately but on the same premises in a bid to tackle religious hatred.’
      • ‘He said: ‘I am concerned that this is the thin end of the wedge.’’
  • thin on top

    • informal Balding.

      • ‘I don't care that he's going thin on top or thick in the middle.’
      • ‘I bought him a toupee once because he is a bit thin on top.’
      • ‘And have you noticed that Ed is looking a little thin on top?’
      • ‘Boys, you may have noticed I'm no longer going a bit thin on top.’
      • ‘He was described as 5ft 7in tall, in his 40s or 50s, with light-coloured hair, which was thin on top.’
      • ‘He's going very thin on top, though, which must be worrying.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘By the way, isn't Tommy going really thin on top?’
      • ‘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.’
      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

/THin/