Word of the Day – Exiguous

Word of the Day: May 18, 2020


adjective – ig-ZIG-yuh-wus


Did you know?

Exiguous is so expansive sounding that you might expect it to mean “extensive” instead of “meager.” Even a scanty glimpse at the word’s etymology will disabuse you of that notion, however. Exiguous derives from the Latin exiguus, which has the same basic meaning as the modern English term. Exiguus, in turn, derives from the Latin verb exigere, which is variously translated as “to demand,” “to drive out,” or “to weigh or measure.” The idea of weighing or measuring so precisely as to be parsimonious or petty gave exiguous its present sense of inadequacy. Just so we aren’t accused of being skimpy with the details, we should also mention that exigere is the parent term underlying other English words including exact and exigent.


New computer equipment would be prohibitively expensive, given the rural school’s exiguous resources.

“[Adam] Smith’s death was the subject of rather little interest, in England and even in Scotland. The published obituaries were exiguous….” — Emma Rothschild, Economic Sentiments, 2001

Merriam-Webster Word of the Day