1 /TIn/ comparative thinner superlative thickest adjective
1 NOT THICK having a very small distance or a smaller distance than usual between two sides or two flat surfaces: a thin nylon rope | She's only wearing a thin summer jacket. | two thin slices of bread | The road was covered with a thin layer of ice. | paper thin (=very thin): Keep your voice down, the walls are paper thin.
—opposite thick 1 (1)
2 NOT FAT having little fat on your body: Larry was tall and thin with dark brown hair. | I wish my legs were thinner.
—opposite fat 1 (1)
3 LIQUID a liquid that is thin flows very easily because it has a lot of water in it: thin paint
4 SMOKE/MIST smoke or mist that is thin is easy to see through: The fog is quite thin in places.
—opposite thick 1 (4)
5 AIR air that is thin is more difficult to breathe than usual because it has less oxygen in it: the thinner air high in the mountains
6 VOICE a thin voice is high and unpleasant to listen to: a thin cracked singing voice
7 SOUND a thin sound is unpleasantly weak: the thin mewing of a bedraggled kitten
—opposite full 1 (15)
8 HAIR/PLANTS hairs or plants that are thin have spaces between them: a thin straggly beard | thin vegetation
9 EXCUSE/ARGUMENT/EXPLANATION a thin excuse, argument, or explanation is not good or detailed enough to persuade you that it is true
10 INFORMATION/DESCRIPTION a piece of information or a description that is thin is not detailed enough to be useful or effective: The evidence for Viking settlements in America is pretty thin.
11 the thin end of the wedge especially BrE spoken an expression meaning something that you think is the beginning of a harmful development: These job cuts are just the thin end of the wedge.
12 be thin on the ground if a particular type of person or thing is thin on the ground, there are very few available: Taxis seem to be thin on the ground.
13 be having a thin time (of it) spoken to be in a difficult situation, especially one in which you do not have enough money
14 be (skating) on thin ice to be in a situation in which you are likely to upset someone or cause trouble: I think the people who argue that discoveries in genetics should be commercially protected are on thin ice.
15 disappear/vanish into thin air to disappear or vanish completely in a mysterious way
16 thin on top informal an expression meaning having little hair on your head used when you want to avoid saying this
—see also: thinly — thinnness noun (U) USAGE NOTE: THIN WORD CHOICE: thin, slim, slender, lean, skinny, underweight, emaciated, narrow Thin is a general word to describe people who have little or no fat on their bodies (opposite fat), but it often sounds a little negative. If you want to make clear that someone is thin in a pleasant way, you say they are slim or (less common) slender: I wish I were as slim as you. | with a slim build and long slender legs You can also say lean (=thin in a strong and healthy way): a lean, muscular body If someone is a bit too thin they are skinny (informal), underweight (the technical word), or (worst of all) emaciated: He looks skinny as a rake. | skinny fashion models | The doctor says I'm a little underweight since my illness. | the emaciated bodies of the famine victims Thin (opposite thick) can also be used for things if the distance through them is not very big: a thin post/wire/dress/slice of cheese Narrow is usually used to describe something that is not very wide from side to side: a narrow road/bed/gap. However, in a few contexts, especially where something is both long and narrow, thin can be used in this sense too: a thin stripe/strip of tape/a dress with very thin straps 2 adverb so as to be thin: Don't cut the bread so thin. 3 verb thinned, thinning (T)
1 also thin out to make more room for plants to grow by removing the weaker ones: thinning out the carrots
2 thin the ranks if something thins the ranks of a group of people, there are less of them as a result of it: Illness had thinned our ranks.
3 to make a liquid weaker by adding water or another liquid: This paint needs thinning.
thin out phrasal verb (I) if a crowd thins out the people gradually separate and leave so there are fewer of them: By midnight the crowd outside the theatre was starting to thin out.

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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