- The definition of gaunt is looking thin, bony or sickly.
An example of gaunt is the appearance of someone who hasn’t eaten enough for many weeks.
- thin and bony; hollow-eyed and haggard, as from great hunger or age; emaciated
- looking grim, forbidding, or desolate
Origin of gauntMiddle English gawnte, earlier gant, slender, thin, gaunt ; from uncertain or unknown; perhaps
- Thin or emaciated: “Her smile took up ever more of her increasingly gaunt face” (Lindsey Crittenden). See Synonyms at lean2.
- Bleak or desolate: “She walked along fast &ellipsis; scared of &ellipsis; the few shadowy people and the old gaunt houses with their wide inky doorways” (John Dos Passos).
Origin of gauntMiddle English, perhaps from Old French gant, possibly of Scandinavian origin.
(comparative gaunter, superlative gauntest)
From Middle English gawnt, gawnte (“lean, slender”), from Old French, probably from a Scandinavian source, related to Old Norse gandr (“magic staff, stick”), from Proto-Germanic *gandaz (“stick, staff”), from Proto-Indo-European *gʷʰen- (“to beat, hit, drive”). Cognate with Icelandic gandur (“magic staff”), Norwegian gand (“tall pointed stick; tall, thin man”), Danish gand, gan, Norwegian gana (“cut-off tree limbs”), Bavarian Gunten (“a kind of wedge or peg”). Related also to Old English gūþ (“battle”), Latin dēfendō (“ward off, defend”). Compare also Swedish dialectal gank (“a lean, emaciated horse”).