from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Barely sufficient.
  • adjective Falling short of a specific measure.
  • adjective Inadequately supplied; short.
  • transitive verb To give an inadequate portion or allowance to.
  • transitive verb To limit, as in amount or share; stint.
  • transitive verb To deal with or treat inadequately or neglectfully; slight.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Scarcity; scantiness; lack.
  • 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.
  • 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • verb work hastily or carelessly; deal with inadequately and superficially
  • verb limit in quality or quantity
  • verb supply sparingly and with restricted quantities
  • adjective 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")


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



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

    June 24, 2008

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

    - Peter Reading, C, 1984

    August 2, 2008