American English

Definition of thin adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    (thinner, thinnest)
    jump to other results
    not thick
  1. 1having a smaller distance between opposite sides or surfaces than other similar objects or than normal Cut the vegetables into thin strips. A number of thin cracks appeared in the wall. The body was hidden beneath a thin layer of soil. a thin blouse (= of light cloth) see also paper-thin Which Word?narrow / thinThese adjectives are frequently used with the following nouns:
    narrow ~thin ~
    Narrow describes something that is a short distance from side to side. Thin describes people, or something that has a short distance through it from one side to the other. Thin is also used of things that are not as thick as you expect. Narrow can be used with the meanings “barely achieved” and “limited.”
  2. not fat
  3. 2(sometimes disapproving) (of a person or part of the body) not covered with much flesh He was tall and thin, with dark hair. She was looking pale and thin. He is as thin as a rail (= very thin). thin legs
  4. hair
  5. 3not growing closely together or in large amounts thin gray hair
  6. liquid
  7. 4containing more liquid than is normal or expected synonym runny The sauce was thin and tasteless.
  8. smoke
  9. 5fairly easy to see through They fought their way through where the smoke was thinner.
  10. air
  11. 6containing less oxygen than normal Humans would not be able to survive in the thin atmosphere of the planet.
  12. sound
  13. 7(disapproving) high and weak Her thin voice trailed off into silence.
  14. smile
  15. 8not sincere or enthusiastic He gave a thin smile.
  16. light
  17. 9not very bright the thin gray light of dawn
  18. poor quality
  19. 10of poor quality; lacking an important quality a thin excuse (= one that people are not likely to believe) Their arguments all sound a little thin to me. The general standard of applicants is pretty thin this year.
  20. NAmE//ˈθɪnnəs//
    noun [uncountable] see also thinly
  21. Vocabulary Buildingsaying that someone is thin Thin is the most usual word:Steve is tall and thin and has brown hair.It is sometimes used with a negative meaning:My mother looked thin and tired after her long illness.The following words all express praise or admiration: Slim means pleasantly thin. It is often used to describe women who have controlled their weight by diet or exercise:She has a strikingly slim figure. A slender girl or woman is thin and graceful. A lean man is thin and fit. Willowy describes a woman who is attractively tall and thin.The following words are more negative in their meaning: Skinny means very thin, often in a way that is not attractive:a skinny little kid Bony describes parts of the body when they are so thin that the bones can be seen:the old man’s bony hands Scrawny suggests that a person is thin, weak, and not attractive:a scrawny old woman Gaunt describes a person who is a little too thin and looks sad or ill. Underweight is used in medical contexts to describe people who are too thin because they are ill or have not had enough food:Women who smoke risk giving birth to underweight babies. Emaciated describes a serious condition resulting from illness or lack of food. Anorexic is a medical term, but is now also used informally to describe a girl or woman who is so thin that you are worried about them.It is much more acceptable to talk to someone about how thin or slim they are than about how fat they are.
    be skating/walking on thin ice
    jump to other results
    to be taking a risk
    disappear, vanish, etc. into thin air
    jump to other results
    to disappear suddenly in a mysterious way She can't just have vanished into thin air.
    out of thin air
    jump to other results
    from nowhere or nothing, as if by magic Unfortunately, I can't just conjure up the money out of thin air!
    spread yourself too thin
    jump to other results
    to try to do so many different things at the same time that you do not do any of them well
    thin on top (informal)
    jump to other results
    without much hair on the head He's starting to get a little thin on top (= he's losing his hair).
    a thin skin
    jump to other results
    the lack of ability to accept criticism, insults, etc. without becoming upset You shouldn't be in politics if you have such a thin skin. opposite a thick skin, thin-skinned
    through thick and thin
    jump to other results
    even when there are problems or difficulties He's supported the team for over ten years through thick and thin. In marriage, you have to stick together through thick and thin.
    walk/tread a fine/thin line
    jump to other results
    to be in a difficult or dangerous situation where you could easily make a mistake He was walking a fine line between being funny and being rude.
    to begin to become weaker or less acceptable These excuses are wearing a little thin (= because we've heard them so many times before). My patience is beginning to wear very thin.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: thin