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

  • adj. Relatively small in extent from one surface to the opposite, usually in the smallest solid dimension: a thin book.
  • adj. Not great in diameter or cross section; fine: thin wire.
  • adj. Lean or slender in form, build, or stature.
  • adj. Not dense or concentrated; sparse: the thin vegetation of the plateau.
  • adj. More rarefied than normal: thin air.
  • adj. Flowing with relative ease; not viscous: a thin oil.
  • adj. Watery: thin soup.
  • adj. Sparsely supplied or provided; scanty: a thin menu; thin trading.
  • adj. Lacking force or substance; flimsy: a thin attempt.
  • adj. Lacking resonance or fullness; tinny: The piano had a thin sound.
  • adj. Lacking radiance or intensity: thin light.
  • adj. Not having enough photographic density or contrast to make satisfactory prints. Used of a negative.
  • adv. In a thin manner: Spread the varnish thin if you don't want it to wrinkle.
  • adv. So as to be thin: Cut the cheese thin.
  • transitive v. To make or become thin or thinner.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having little thickness or extent from one surface to its opposite.
  • adj. Very narrow in all diameters; having a cross section that is small in all directions.
  • adj. Having little body fat or flesh; slim; slender; lean; gaunt.
  • adj. Of low viscosity or low specific gravity, e.g., as is water compared to honey.
  • adj. Scarce.
  • adj. Describing a poorly played golf shot where the ball is struck by the bottom part of the club head. See fat, shank, toe.
  • n. A loss or tearing of paper from the back of a stamp, although not sufficient to create a complete hole.
  • v. To make thin or thinner.
  • v. To become thin or thinner.
  • v. To dilute.
  • v. To remove some plants in order to improve the growth of those remaining.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having little thickness or extent from one surface to its opposite
  • adj. Rare; not dense or thick; -- applied to fluids or soft mixtures.
  • adj. Not close; not crowded; not filling the space; not having the individuals of which the thing is composed in a close or compact state; hence, not abundant
  • adj. Not full or well grown; wanting in plumpness.
  • adj. Not stout; slim; slender; lean; gaunt.
  • adj. Wanting in body or volume; small; feeble; not full.
  • adj. Slight; small; slender; flimsy; wanting substance or depth or force; superficial; inadequate; not sufficient for a covering.
  • adv. Not thickly or closely; in a seattered state.
  • intransitive v. To grow or become thin; -- used with some adverbs, as out, away, etc..
  • transitive v. To make thin (in any of the senses of the adjective).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 14. In art, characterized, in composition, by few and widely separated elements, by absence of serious interest, or by lack of body and force in technique.
  • Very narrow in all diameters; slender; slim; long and fine: as, a thin wire; a thin string.
  • Very narrow in one diameter; having the opposite surfaces very near together; having little thickness or depth; not thick; not heavy: as, thin paper; thin boards: opposed to thick.
  • Having the constituent parts loose or sparse in arrangement; lacking density, compactness, or luxuriance; rare; specifically, of the air and other gases, rarefied.
  • Hence, easily seen through; transparent, literally or figuratively; shallow; flimsy; slight: as, a thin disguise.
  • Having slight consistency or viscosity: said of liquids: as, thin syrup; thin gruel.
  • Deficient in some characteristic or important ingredient; lacking strength or richness; specifically, of liquors, small: opposed to strong.
  • Of sound, lacking in fullness; faint, and often somewhat shrill or metallic in tone.
  • Limited in power or capacity; feeble; weak.
  • Meager; lean; spare; not plump or fat.
  • Limited in quantity or number; small or infrequent; scanty.
  • Scantily occupied or furnished; bare; empty: used absolutely or with of.
  • Having no depth: said of a school of fish.
  • Having insufficient density or contrast to give a good photographic print or a satisfactory image on the screen; weak: said of a negative or a lantern-slide.
  • Thinly.
  • To make thin.
  • To make less dense or compact; make sparse; specifically, to rarefy, as a gas.
  • To reduce in consistency or viscosity: said of liquids: as, to thin starch.
  • To reduce in strength or richness: as, to thin the blood.
  • To make lean or spare.
  • To reduce in numbers or frequency.
  • To make bare or empty.
  • To become thin.
  • A Middle English form of thine.

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

  • v. lessen the strength or flavor of a solution or mixture
  • adj. not dense
  • v. lose thickness; become thin or thinner
  • adj. lacking excess flesh
  • adj. (of sound) lacking resonance or volume
  • adj. very narrow
  • adv. without viscosity
  • v. take off weight
  • adj. lacking spirit or sincere effort
  • v. make thin or thinner
  • adj. lacking substance or significance
  • adj. of relatively small extent from one surface to the opposite or in cross section
  • adj. relatively thin in consistency or low in density; not viscous


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

Middle English, from Old English thynne; see ten- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English thin, thinne, from Old English þynne, from Proto-Germanic *þunnuz (“thin”), (compare Proto-Germanic *þanjanan (“to stretch, spread out”)), from Proto-Indo-European *ténh₂us (“thin”), from Proto-Indo-European *tenw(ə)- (“to pull, stretch”).


  • To stay with someone or something “through thick and thin” is to persevere through good times as well as bad: “She stood beside her friend through thick and thin.

    through thick and thin

  • I disagree with the term thin privilege see the posts I linked to for a fuller argument of why, but I really disagree with using it in this case.

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  • If the sunlight is intense and the label thin, some starch will appear under it.

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  • Because of this, the industry has been trying what they call thin film solar cells.

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  • That what she call the thin wood that stick out at the bottom of the wall.

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  • It's largely home to weak, artificial connections, what I call thin relationships.

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  • Weaver also said the rope, which he described as thin like a clothes line, was wrapped around the high branches of two different trees as if for leverage.


  • I’ve written in different ways why I find the term thin privilege problematic.

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  • For the purposes of the list I’m useing the term thin but even that has problems.

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  • Though they make quick little desserts if you lay in thin pastry dough and some fruit.

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  • *snort*

    February 16, 2010

  • A warning against thinning paints:

    Michelangelo was painting the roof of the Sistine Chapel. However, he was being rather cheap and thinning his paints to save money. Suddenly, a big storm came and somehow rain got inside the Chapel and washed the ceiling and the walls of the paint, leaving them sparkling clean. A lightning bolt shot out of the clouds and knocked Michaelangelo off his ladder to the floor. He looked up and saw God... God said, "Repaint, repaint, and thin no more."

    You may have heard it before, or maybe not...but I think it's hilarious.

    February 16, 2010