Meager means small and often applies to portions. Your mother may only allow you a meager serving of chocolate cake, and you may need to eat a meager serving of veggies in order to deserve that dessert.

Meager doesn't mean adequate — it means not enough. People with a limited supply of food may try to subsist on meager portions. People who make a meager amount of money probably have a hard time making rent. Meager and emaciated both derive from the Old French maigre. If you can remember that you will look emaciated if your diet is meager, you’ll use the word correctly.

Definitions of meager

adj deficient in amount or quality or extent

meager resources”
meager fare”
meagerly, meagre, scrimpy, stingy
deficient in quantity or number compared with the demand
bare, scanty, spare
lacking in amplitude or quantity
extremely scanty
providing only bare essentials
barely satisfying a lower standard
measly, miserable, paltry
contemptibly small in amount
minimal, minimum
the least possible
deficient, insufficient
of a quantity not able to fulfill a need or requirement
more than enough in size or scope or capacity
present in great quantity
full, good
having the normally expected amount
more than adequate
full, wide, wide-cut
having ample fabric
of a quantity that can fulfill a need or requirement but without being abundant
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