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

  • adj. Barely sufficient: paid scant attention to the lecture.
  • adj. Falling short of a specific measure: a scant cup of sugar.
  • adj. Inadequately supplied; short: We were scant of breath after the lengthy climb.
  • transitive v. To give an inadequate portion or allowance to: had to scant the older children in order to nourish the newborn.
  • transitive v. To limit, as in amount or share; stint: Our leisure time is scanted by this demanding job.
  • transitive v. To deal with or treat inadequately or neglectfully; slight.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. very little, very few
  • v. To limit in amount or share; to stint.
  • n. A block of stone sawn on two sides down to the bed level.
  • n. A sheet of stone.
  • n. A slightly thinner measurement of a standard wood size.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Not full, large, or plentiful; scarcely sufficient; less than is wanted for the purpose; scanty; meager; not enough.
  • adj. Sparing; parsimonious; chary.
  • adv. In a scant manner; with difficulty; scarcely; hardly.
  • n. Scantness; scarcity.
  • intransitive v. To fail, or become less; to scantle.
  • transitive v. To limit; to straiten; to treat illiberally; to stint.
  • transitive v. To cut short; to make small, narrow, or scanty; to curtail.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Short in quantity; scarcely sufficient; rather less than is wanted for the purpose; not enough; scanty: as, a scant allowance of provisions or water; a scant piece of cloth for a garment.
  • Sparing; parsimonious; chary.
  • Having a limited or scanty supply; scarce; short: with of.
  • Nautical, of the wind, coming from a direction such that a ship will barely lie her course even when close-hauled.
  • Scarcely; hardly.
  • Scantily; sparingly.
  • To put on scant allowance; limit; stint: as, to scant one in provisions or necessaries.
  • To make small or scanty; diminish; cut short or down.
  • To be niggard or sparing of; begrudge; keep back.
  • Nautical, of the wind, to become less favorable; blow in such a direction as to hinder a vessel from continuing on her course even when close-hauled.
  • n. Scarcity; scantiness; lack.

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

  • v. work hastily or carelessly; deal with inadequately and superficially
  • v. limit in quality or quantity
  • v. supply sparingly and with restricted quantities
  • adj. less than the correct or legal or full amount often deliberately so


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

Middle English, from Old Norse skamt, neuter of skammr, short.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old Norse skamt, neuter of skammr ("short")


  • Apple refuses to use Ogg Theora in Safari because of what it calls scant hardware support and an "uncertain patent landscape."

    The Register

  • But scant is robust evidence at early developmental stages for a lower dN/dS ratio.

    2008 December - Telic Thoughts

  • They've been around since before World War II, but their use on sporting rifles has always been limited to custom guns, and then in scant numbers.

    Muzzle Brake Pros and Cons

  • Got to Thomas Paine park at about 7pm; only 20 or so people there …. at about 8pm a few marketing people started handing out really cool T-shirts, stickers, Gotham Newspapers and Keychains to a frenzied crowd of about 300; then a couple of guys showed up randomly in scant Batman attire; fitting to say the least ….

    Citizens For Batman Unite - New York and Chicago Meet-Ups! «

  • He heard Emily scream his name a scant second before the darkness claimed him.

    One Pink Rose

  • No parents, no brothers or sisters and forbidden even to call her scant-remaining relative fondly.

    Dearly Beloved

  • Our country was not a nation of what may be called scant rainfall.


  • The space is scant enough for all that is told in it; scant, that is to say, in comparison with the space of the story of Beowulf; though whether the poem loses, as poetry, by this compression is another matter.

    Epic and Romance Essays on Medieval Literature

  • (To avoid the repetition of few the affected word scant has been admitted)


  • As soon as the curtain had thus dropped which had divided him from the Emperor's representative and his companion, he bowed to the former as low as the rotund dimensions of his person would allow; but his hasty arrival, the effort of strength he had made, and his astonishment at the appearance of the most powerful personage in the Nile Province in the building entrusted to his care, so utterly took away his breath -- of which he at all times was but "scant" -- that he was unable even to stammer out a suitable greeting.

    The Emperor — Volume 01


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • ...I am dying (Carcinoma ventriculi) but the Holocene is of scant importance.

    - Peter Reading, C, 1984

    August 2, 2008

  • 1436 Pol. Poems (Rolls) II. 189 Allas! fortune begynneth so to stant read scant?, Or ellis grace, that dede is governaunce.

    June 24, 2008