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

adj being very thin

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

adj inferior in size or quality

scrawny cattle”
scrubby, stunted
of low or inferior quality

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