EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

Adjective and determiner 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). Verb from Middle English scanten, from the adjective. Noun and adverb from Middle English scant, from the adjective.

PronunciationEdit

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

AdjectiveEdit

scant (comparative scanter, superlative scantest)

  1. Not full, large, or plentiful; scarcely sufficient; scanty; meager.
    a scant allowance of provisions or water; a scant pattern of cloth for a garment
    • 1824, John Watkins, Life of Hugh Latimer
      His sermon was scant, in all, a quarter of an hour.
    • 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.
    • 2021 December 29, Stephen Roberts, “Stories and facts behind railway plaques: Aylesbury (2009)”, in RAIL, number 947, page 61:
      The mainstream media hones in on bad news stories where UK railways are concerned, yet gives scant attention to the many items of good news emerging from the network.
  2. Sparing; parsimonious; chary.

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VerbEdit

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
  2. (intransitive) To fail, or become less; to scantle.
    The wind scants.

DeterminerEdit

scant

  1. Very little, very few.
    After his previous escapades, Mary had scant reason to believe John.
    (as pronoun) The failure of this project has scant to do with me.
    • 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.

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NounEdit

scant (plural scants)

  1. A small piece or quantity.
    • 2020, Nathaniel DeZago, Cries of Battle: Selstra
      A blonde appeared from the officers' room, wearing a scant of material that passed for issued undergarments.
  2. (uncommon) Scarcity; lack.
    • 1757, John-Henry Grose, A voyage to the East-Indies, with observations on various parts there, page 360 [3]
      As soon as the corpse was placed on the pile, and some prayers muttered by the attendant Bramin, fire was set to it at one of the corners, and the wood being dry, and in great quantity, it soon blazed up and consumed the body to ashes, without any noisome smell, such as however does not unfrequently happen if there is a scant of wood, or rain intervenes to damp it.
    • 1831, Derwent Conway, Switzerland, the South of France and the Pyrenees, page 224 [4]
      I was greatly surprised, however, in this very fertile and abundant country, to find so great a scant of provisions in the inns.
    • 1846, J T Hackett, Ability of the public to make the projected railways, reprinted in The Railway Register Vol. IV, page 144 [5]
      Even if labour were diverted to a great extent from our grand staple, the cotton manufacture, we are not prepared to admit that the country would be worse off. The worst that could happen in such a case would be, that for a few years, during the inordinate progress of railways, our population would run short of shirts and shifts. If the woollen manufacture be the theme, there would be a scant of coats and petticoats; or if the earthenware manufacture, there must be fewer teapots and pipkins.
  3. (masonry) A block of stone sawn on two sides down to the bed level.
  4. (masonry) A sheet of stone.
  5. (wood) A slightly thinner measurement of a standard wood size.

QuotationsEdit

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AdverbEdit

scant (not comparable)

  1. (uncommon or old-fashioned) With difficulty; scarcely; hardly.
    • 1597, Francis [Bacon], “Of the Colours of Good and Evill, a Fragment”, in The Essayes [], 3rd edition, London: [] Iohn Haviland [], published 1632, OCLC 863527675:
      [A]ske a Stoicke vvhich Philoſophy is true, he vvil preferre his ovvne. Then aske him vvhich approacheth next the truth, he vvill confeſſe the Academiques. So deale vvith the Epicure, that vvill ſcant indure the Stoicke to be in ſight of him, ſo ſoone as he hath placed himſelfe, he vvill place the Academiques next him.
    • 1655, Thomas Fuller, James Nichols, editor, The Church History of Britain, [], volume (please specify |volume=I to III), new edition, London: [] [James Nichols] for Thomas Tegg and Son, [], published 1837, OCLC 913056315:
      So weak that he was scant able to go down the stairs.

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