American English

Definition of lean adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    (leaner, leanest)
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  1. 1(usually approving) (of people, especially men, or animals) without much flesh; thin and fit a lean, muscular body He was tall, lean, and handsome.
  2. 2(of meat) containing little or no fat a lean, tender piece of beef
  3. 3 [usually before noun] (of a period of time) difficult and not producing much money, food, etc. a lean period The company recovered well after going through several lean years. This is the leanest time of the year for the tourist industry. Many animals have a lean time of it in winter.
  4. 4 (of organizations, etc.) strong and efficient because the number of employees has been reduced The changes made the company leaner and more competitive.
  5. NAmE//ˈlinnəs//
    noun [uncountable] The dark clothes emphasized the leanness of her body.
  6. Idioms
    lean and mean
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    efficient and using resources well with little waste a lean and mean organization
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: lean