September 05, 2012
gaunt (adjective)
\GAWNT\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : being thin and bony (as from hunger or suffering)2 : grim and forbidding : barren, desolate
How do you use it?
"It was not very long, indeed, before his coat hung with a discouraged sag from his gaunt shoulders and his hair and beard were rumpled as if he had been out in a gale."
Are you a word wiz?

Who do you think is the author of the quotation we've used as our example sentence for "gaunt"?

Willa Cather, noted for portrayals of American frontier life in novels such as _O Pioneers!_ and _My Antonia_, is the author of the sentence we've quoted. Cather used "gaunt" in the sentence to effectively describe the thinness of her character, but the dictionary is fat with other words a writer can choose to mean "thin." "Scrawny" and "skinny" suggest an extremely thin and bony appearance. "Lanky" suggests awkwardness and loose-jointedness as well as thinness. "Lean" suggests a lack of unnecessary flesh and may also suggest the tough muscular frame of an athlete.
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