Language: Old English
Origin: thynne


1 adjective
thin1 S2 W2 comparative thinner, superlative thinnest

not thick

if something is thin, there is only a small distance between its two opposite sides or surfaces [≠ thick]:
a thin gold chain
She's only wearing a thin summer jacket (=a jacket made of light material).
two thin slices of bread
The road was covered with a thin layer of ice.
The skin on the eyelids is the thinnest on the body.
paper/wafer thin (=very thin)
Keep your voice down - the walls are paper thin.

not fat

having little fat on your body [≠ fat]:
He was tall and thin, with short brown hair.
thin arms/legs/lips etc
He has long thin hands.
Most high school girls say they want to be thinner.


if someone has thin hair, they do not have a lot of hair:
a thin straggly beard
His hair is quite thin on top.


a liquid that is thin flows very easily because it has a lot of water in it [≠ thick]:
thin paint


smoke or mist that is thin is easy to see through [≠ thick]:
The fog is quite thin in places.


DN air that is thin is more difficult to breathe than usual because it has less oxygen in it:
the thinner air high in the mountains

excuse/argument/evidence etc

a thin excuse, argument, or evidence is not good or detailed enough to be useful or effective:
Evidence that capital punishment deters crime is pretty thin.

a thin margin/majority etc

a very small number or amount of something:
Engle beat Blanchard by a razor-thin margin (=a very small number of votes) in the race for governor.


a thin smile does not seem very happy or sincere:
Charlie gave her a thin smile.


a thin voice or sound is high and unpleasant to listen to:
His thin voice trailed off.

the thin end of the wedge

British English spoken an expression meaning something that you think is the beginning of a harmful development:
Workers believe the job cuts are just the thin end of the wedge.

be thin on the ground

if a particular type of person or thing is thin on the ground, there are very few available:
Taxis seem to be thin on the ground.

be having a thin time (of it)

British English spoken to be in a difficult situation, especially one in which you do not have enough money

be (walking/treading/skating) on thin ice

to be in a situation in which you are likely to upset someone or cause trouble:
I was on thin ice, and I knew it.

disappear/vanish into thin air

to disappear completely in a mysterious way:
Victor and his kidnappers had vanished into thin air.

out of thin air

out of nowhere, as if by magic:
It seems like researchers have just pulled the numbers out of thin air.
thinly, wear thin
thinness noun [uncountable]

thin, slim, skinny, slender, lean, slight
Thin is a general word meaning that someone has little fat on their body. It is usually, but not always, disapproving He's much too thin. Teenage girls all seem to want to be thin.Slim means thin in an attractive way her lovely slim figureSkinny is a fairly informal word meaning very thin, which is usually disapproving ridiculously skinny modelsSlender, lean, and slight are used mostly in written English.Slender means thin in an attractive and graceful way long slender legsLean means thin and looking strong and fit a tall, lean athleteSlight means thin and delicate-looking Her brother was very slight and looked younger than he was.

Explore NATURE Topic