Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Slang Contemptibly small; meager: gave the parking attendant a measly tip.
  • adj. Infected with measles.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Small in amount, contemptibly so.
  • adj. Infected with measles
  • adj. Infected with larval tapeworms
  • adj. Infected with tricinae

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Infected with measles.
  • adj. Containing larval tapeworms; -- said of pork and beef.
  • adj. Contemptibly small in quantity; meager; absurdly insufficient or bad.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Infected with measles or the measle, as an animal or its flesh, especially pork.
  • Good-for-nothing; miserable; wretched; contemptible.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. contemptibly small in amount

Etymologies

measle +‎ -y (Wiktionary)
measles +‎ -y (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The doctor returned to the captain, and said, "that there was no doubt but that the pig was measly, which was a complaint very frequent on board ships, particularly in hot climates, where all pork became _measly_ -- one great reason for its there proving so unwholesome."

    Peter Simple; and, The Three Cutters, Vol. 1-2

  • The media has constantly focused, and Wall Street has been very happy about this focus, on this measly-and I say "measly" - $700 billion worth of TARP money that Congress allowed to be allocated last October.

    Democracy Now!

  • You just don't call a measly step or even two on a legend nicknamed "Air" any more than you call Barry Bonds, reputed to have the best eye at the plate in baseball, out on strikes on a borderline pitch.

    Starr Gazing: Is The Fix In?

  • I am enjoying the WSJ and all of the other hacks/pundits yammering about his 'measly' 30mil looking like complete idiots.

    Obama's Money: $50 Million Raised For Primary, But It Doesn't Matter

  • You have to care, otherwise you wouldn't work so hard to save one "measly" animal.

    Archive 2009-07-01

  • So when Bush touts his record — a tripling of aid to Africa, a $15-billion commitment to fight HIV/AIDS, etc. — it has to be put in perspective: It's better than nothing, but it's still kind of measly ....

    06/13/2005

  • Still, the UN peacekeeping budget of US2. 17 billion dollars is described as "measly" compared with America's staggering US350 billion military budget for this year.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • The tapeworms, common in many animals and often occurring in man, the roundworms of which the trichina (Fig. 3) that causes "measly" pork is a representative, are familiar examples.

    Insects and Diseases A Popular Account of the Way in Which Insects may Spread or Cause some of our Common Diseases

  • = -- This is developed in man after eating "measly" beef or pork.

    The Home Medical Library, Volume I (of VI)

  • Measles -- harmless, tickly, snuffly, "measly" little measles -- kills from thirty to sixty per cent of whole villages and tribes of Indians and cripples half the remainder!

    Preventable Diseases

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