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  1. #1
    AirbusA321 is offline Banned
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    skinny

    Do all these terms mean the same?

    The woman over there looks very...

    skinny
    meager
    slender
    thin
    slim
    gaunt
    scrawny
    slight
    spare
    lank
    lean
    svelte
    trim
    slimline

    Which of these are more likely to be used in everyday talk?

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: skinny

    I wouldn't use meagre/spare/lank. They don't all mean the same. For a start, are you trying to be positive or does she look underweight, possibly ill?

  3. #3
    andrewg927 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: skinny

    It should be "lanky".

  4. #4
    bubbha is offline Senior Member
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    Re: skinny

    When describing people:

    "skinny", "slight" and "thin" are generally neutral in connotation.

    "slender", "slim", "lean", "trim" and "svelte" are positive.

    "gaunt" and "scrawny" are negative.

    "lanky" means tall, skinny and uncoordinated, and is neutral to negative.

    "meager" doesn't describe people.

    "slimline" is a term I'm unfamiliar with.
    NOT A TEACHER. Translator and editor, and I hold a TESOL certificate. Native speaker of American English (West Coast)

  5. #5
    Lynxear's Avatar
    Lynxear is offline Senior Member
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    Re: skinny

    "Slimeline" is a British English adjective.

    I have heard of it being used in Canada, but it was used to describe a car, not a woman.
    Experience is recognizing a mistake the second time you make it.
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  6. #6
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: skinny

    Slimline (not "slimeline") is used in BrE but not usually to refer to people. We have "slimline tonic [water]". It's used in the same way that "diet" (BrE) or "light" (AmE and probably other variants) are used to express that a food or drink has fewer calories than its standard equivalent.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  7. #7
    AirbusA321 is offline Banned
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    Re: skinny

    How about "bony" and "skeletal" for very skinny people? Would that be acceptable in colloquial speech?

  8. #8
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    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: skinny

    "Skeletal" certainly works. It even suggests that the person is so skinny that they might be very ill, close to death even.
    "Bony" would probably be taken to mean the same thing but it could just mean that the bones are quite visible. I know someone who is thin (although not "very skinny") and she has very pointy visible cheekbones and ribs.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  9. #9
    Skrej's Avatar
    Skrej is offline Key Member
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    Re: skinny

    You'll sometimes hear 'bony' to describe young, prepubescent kids in addition to the contexts emsr suggests. It's mildly negative, although in this context it's just addressing a natural growth phase that many kids go through. It's addressing the awkwardness of puberty rather than being truly derogatory.

    That boy/girl is very bony - all elbows and knees.
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

  10. #10
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: skinny

    A positive way to describe girls at that age is "coltish". Their legs are often disproportionately long in the same way as a colt's legs are.
    I am not a teacher.

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