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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce gaunt (audio)

Dictionary definition of gaunt

Appearing extremely thin, emaciated, or skeletal.
"Despite his gaunt appearance, there was a fierce determination in his eyes that refused to be extinguished."

Detailed meaning of gaunt

It suggests a person or object lacking flesh or fullness, often as a result of physical exhaustion, malnutrition, or illness. When applied to a person, the term "gaunt" typically implies a haggard and hollow-cheeked appearance, with prominent bones and a frail physique. It can evoke a sense of weariness, hardship, or suffering. A gaunt face may exhibit sunken eyes, thin lips, and a gaunt body may appear bony and lacking in muscle mass. This adjective often carries connotations of fragility, vulnerability, and a general state of physical depletion. However, it is important to approach the use of this term with sensitivity, as it can also be associated with negative body image or unhealthy beauty standards.

Example sentences containing gaunt

1. The gaunt figure in the mirror shocked me with its skeletal appearance.
2. Her gaunt face, pale and sunken, hinted at a long battle with illness.
3. The gaunt man's eyes were haunted by the memories of war.
4. Winter's harsh grip left the landscape looking gaunt and lifeless.
5. The once-thriving town now stood gaunt and abandoned.
6. The gaunt tree branches scratched against the window in the storm.

History and etymology of gaunt

The adjective 'gaunt' has its etymological roots in Middle English, where it was spelled as 'gaunt' or 'gaun,' meaning 'thin' or 'lean.' It is believed to have been borrowed from the Old French word 'gant,' which also meant 'thin' or 'scrawny.' The Old French term possibly had its origins in the Germanic word 'want,' meaning 'deficient' or 'lacking.' Over time, 'gaunt' came to describe someone or something appearing extremely thin, emaciated, or skeletal, emphasizing the stark and often unhealthy leanness of the individual or object in question. The etymology of 'gaunt' reflects its historical connection to the notion of thinness and leanness, particularly when it reaches an extreme, conveying a stark and sometimes haunting appearance.

Quiz: Find the meaning of gaunt

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Further usage examples of gaunt

1. After weeks lost in the wilderness, he emerged gaunt and unrecognizable.
2. The gaunt shadows cast by the flickering candle added to the eerie atmosphere.
3. The gaunt dog whimpered, begging for food and shelter.
4. The gaunt ruins of the castle held secrets from a bygone era.
5. His gaunt frame bore witness to years of hardship and suffering.
6. The gaunt figure approached, cloaked in tattered rags.
7. The old house on the hill had a gaunt, foreboding presence.
8. In the dim light, the gaunt silhouettes seemed otherworldly.
9. The gaunt scarecrow stood sentinel in the barren field.
10. Their gaunt expressions mirrored the gravity of the situation.
11. The gaunt prisoner longed for freedom with every breath.
12. The gaunt branches of the willow tree swayed in the breeze.
13. The gaunt character in the film sent shivers down my spine.
14. She looked gaunt and weary, yet her spirit remained unbroken.
15. The gaunt man stood on the street corner, his hollow cheeks and sunken eyes revealing his struggle with hunger.
16. The gaunt figure wandered through the abandoned building, casting eerie shadows against the cracked walls.
17. Her gaunt appearance was a testament to the toll the illness had taken on her frail body.
18. The gaunt tree branches reached out like skeletal fingers, devoid of any leaves or signs of life.
19. His gaunt face reflected the hardships he had endured during his years as a prisoner of war.
20. The gaunt wolf prowled through the forest, its hunger driving it to seek out prey.
21. The gaunt skyscraper towered above the city, its windows broken and façade crumbling.
22. The gaunt scarecrow stood tall in the field, its tattered clothes billowing in the wind.
23. The gaunt silhouette emerged from the fog, sending shivers down my spine.
24. The gaunt horse struggled to pull the heavy cart, its ribs visible through its thin coat.
25. Her gaunt frame spoke of years of neglect and hardship, but her spirit remained unbroken.



skeletal, plump, well-fed, corpulent


Health and Physiology, High School 12, Health and Hygiene

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