Definition of lean adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//liːn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//liːn//
    (leaner, leanest) Diet, Body shape
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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. See related entries: Body shape
  2. 2(of meat) containing little or no fat a lean, tender piece of beef See related entries: Diet
  3. 3[usually before noun] (of a period of time) difficult and not producing much money, food, etc. a lean period/spell 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. Word Originadjective Old English hlǣne, of Germanic origin.Extra examples The Frenchman’s body looked lean and hard. These were very lean years for the company. They have a rather lean time through the winter months. He had a lean, muscular body. He’s tall, lean and handsome
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: lean