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"]
updated on January 16, 2022