Etymology
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meager (adj.)

late 14c., megre (late 12c. as a surname), "lean, thin, emaciated" (of persons or animals), from Old French megre, maigre "thin" (12c.), from Latin macrum (nominative macer) "lean, thin" (source of Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian magro), from PIE root *mak- "long, thin." Compare emaciate.

Of material things (land, food, etc.) from early 15c. Cognate Germanic words (Old Norse magr "thin," Old High German magar, German mager, Middle Dutch magher, Dutch mager, Old English mæger) come directly from the PIE root via Proto-Germanic *magras and are not from Latin.

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meagre (adj.)

chiefly British English spelling of meager (q.v.); for spelling, see -re. Related: Meagrely; meagreness.

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meagerly (adv.)

also meagrely, "poorly; thinly; sparsely," 1580s, from meager + -ly (2).

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meagerness (n.)

also meagreness, "leanness; thinness; scantiness," early 15c., megrenes, from meager + -ness.

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maigre (adj.)

"meatless, made without flesh; abstaining from flesh," 1680s, from French maigre "lean, spare, meager," as a noun, "lean meat, food other than meat or gravy" (see meager).

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*mak- 

*māk-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "long, thin." It forms all or part of: emaciate; macro; macro-; macrobiotic; macron; meager; paramecium. It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek makros "long, large," mēkos "length;" Latin macer "lean, thin;" Old Norse magr, Old English mæger "lean, thin."

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malinger (v.)

"to pretend illness to escape duty," 1820, from French malingrer "to suffer," a slang word that probably also at one time meant "pretend to be ill," from malingre "ailing, sickly" (13c.), which is of uncertain origin, possibly a blend of mingre "sickly, miserable" and malade "ill." Mingre is itself a blend of maigre "meager" (see meager) + haingre "sick, haggard," which is possibly from Germanic (compare Middle High German hager "thin").

The sense evolution in French would be through the notion of beggars who feigned to be sick or exhibited sham sores to excite compassion. Malingerer is attested from 1761, in a translation of de Saxe; malingering as a verbal noun is attested from 1778. Related: Malingered.

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gracile (adj.)

"slender, thin," 1620s, from Latin gracilis "slender, thin, fine; plain, simple, meager" (source of French grêle), of unknown origin. Not etymologically connected to grace but often regarded as if it is. Perhaps a dissimilation of a word related to Latin cracens "slender;" if so, perhaps cognate with Sanskrit krsah "thin, weak," Avestan keresa- "lean, meager," Lithuanian karšti "to be very old, to age." Related: Gracility.

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litotes (n.)
rhetorical figure in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative of its contrary ("no laughing matter"), from Greek litotes "plainness, simplicity," from litos "smooth, plain," also "frugal, small, meager," and, of style, "simple, unadorned," from PIE root *(s)lei- "slimy, sticky, slippery" (hence "smooth"); see slime (n.).
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measly (adj.)

"infected with measles," 1680s, from measle (see measles) + -y (2). The Middle English word for "infected with measles" was maseled. Sense of "meager and contemptible, good for nothing" is attested by 1864 in British slang.

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