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  • IPA(key): /skænt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ænt

Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English scant, from Old Norse skamt, neuter of skammr (short), from Proto-Germanic *skammaz (short), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)ḱem- (mutilated, hornless).


scant (comparative scanter, superlative scantest)

  1. Very little, very few.
    After his previous escapades, Mary had scant reason to believe John.
    • 2018, James Lambert, “A multitude of ‘lishes’: The nomenclature of hybridity”, in English World-Wide[1], page 4:
      Another major defect of the current literature dealing with the nomenclature of hybrid forms of English is the scant attention paid to the question of frequency.
    • 2019 July 17, Talia Lavin, “When Non-Jews Wield Anti-Semitism as Political Shield”, in GQ[2]:
      [Minnesota Senator Steve] Daines isn’t the only example of right-wing politicians who wish to wield anti-Semitism as a convenient cudgel against their political enemies, with scant if any evidence. But Montana’s vanishingly small Jewish population makes it particularly clear that this strategy has little to do with flesh-and-blood Jews at all.
  2. Not full, large, or plentiful; scarcely sufficient; scanty; meager; not enough.
    a scant allowance of provisions or water; a scant pattern of cloth for a garment
    • (Can we date this quote?) Ridley
      His sermon was scant, in all, a quarter of an hour.
  3. Sparing; parsimonious; chary.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Shakespeare
      Be somewhat scanter of your maiden presence.
Derived termsEdit
Related termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English scanten, from the adjective (see above).


scant (third-person singular simple present scants, present participle scanting, simple past and past participle scanted)

  1. (transitive) To limit in amount or share; to stint.
    to scant someone in provisions; to scant ourselves in the use of necessaries
    • (Can we date this quote?) Shakespeare
      Scant not my cups.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Francis Bacon
      where man hath a great living laid together and where he is scanted
    • (Can we date this quote?) Dryden
      I am scanted in the pleasure of dwelling on your actions.
  2. (intransitive) To fail, or become less; to scantle.
    The wind scants.

Etymology 3Edit

From Middle English scant, from the adjective (see above).


scant (plural scants)

  1. (masonry) A block of stone sawn on two sides down to the bed level.
  2. (masonry) A sheet of stone.
  3. (wood) A slightly thinner measurement of a standard wood size.

Etymology 4Edit

From Middle English scant, from the adjective (see above).


scant (not comparable)

  1. With difficulty; scarcely; hardly.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Fuller
      So weak that he was scant able to go down the stairs.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Francis Bacon to this entry?)



  1. Scarcity; lack.