scrawny

Scrawny is an insulting way to describe someone who's very thin and weak. You might be surprised by how lifting weights transformed your scrawny teammate to a muscular athlete by the end of the season.

The adjective scrawny can describe a small, underweight body but it can also describe anything that's not very big or well-made — a scrawny tree that never gets any taller or fuller or a scrawny audience that disappoints the band because they were expecting a sold-out concert. Scrawny may have come from the Old Norse word skraelna, to shrivel.

Definitions of scrawny
1

adj being very thin

“a long scrawny neck”
Synonyms:
boney, scraggy, skinny, underweight, weedy
lean, thin
lacking excess flesh

adj inferior in size or quality

scrawny cattle”
Synonyms:
scrubby, stunted
inferior
of low or inferior quality

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.