mid-14c., "short or insufficient in quantity, rather less than is wanted for the purpose," from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse skamt, neuter of skammr "short, brief," from Proto-Germanic *skamma- (source also of Old English scamm "short," Old High German skemmen "to shorten"), perhaps ultimately "hornless" (from PIE *kem- (1) "hornless;" see hind (n.)).
Also in Middle English as a noun, "dearth, scant supply, scarcity," from Old Norse.
mid-15c., scanten, "be deficient, fail," also "be sparing," from scant (adj.). From 1560s as "put on scant allowance, limit;" 1580s as "make small or scanty, diminish." The meaning "treat slightingly" is by c. 1600. As an adverb, "scarcely, hardly," by mid-15c.
"do in a hasty manner, perform in a slipshod or perfunctory way," 1837, probably from a dialect word, perhaps from a Scandinavian source (OED compares Old Norse skemma "to shorten, make shorter," from skammr "short; brief; lately"), or a blend of scant and skimp [Klein], or a back-formation from scamper. Related: Scamped; scamping.
1650s, "meager, barely sufficient for use;" 1701, "too small, limited in scope, lacking amplitude or extent," from scant (adj.) + -y (2). Related: Scantiness "insufficiency" (1560s). Scanties (n.) "underwear" (especially for women) is attested from 1928.
To speken of the horrible disordinat scantnesse of clothyng as ben thise kutted sloppes or hanselyns, that thurgh hire shortnesse ne couere nat the shameful membres of man to wikked entente. [Chaucer, "Parson's Tale"]
1520s, "measured or prescribed size," altered (to conform to -ling words) from earlier scantlon, scantiloun, scantillon "dimension" (c. 1400), earlier a type of mason's rod for measuring thickness (c. 1300), a shortening of Old French escantillon (Modern French échantillon "sample pattern"), which is of uncertain origin; traditionally regarded as a deformed word ultimately from Latin scandere "to climb" (see scan (v.)). The sense has been influenced by scant (adj.). Meaning "small wooden beam" is by 1660s. Related: Scantlings.
1774, "to make too small, to pinch or scant," originally in English an adjective, "scant, meager" (1718), possibly from a Scandinavian source (compare Swedish skrumpna "to shrink, shrivel up," Danish skrumpen "shrunken, shriveled," Norwegian dialectal skramp "thin man"), or from a continental Germanic source akin to Middle High German schrimpfen, German schrumpfen "to shrivel" (from Proto-Germanic *skrimp-, from PIE root *(s)kerb- "to turn, bend").
The meaning "economize" is by 1848. Related: Scrimped; scrimping.
"emotional thrill," 1777 (Walpole), from French frisson "fever, illness; shiver, thrill" (12c.), from Latin frigere "to be cold" (see frigid). Scant record of the word in English between Walpole's use and 1888.