exigent, exiguous
Neither word is common in ordinary usage and both are marked ‘formal’ in the COD (2006). Both are related to Latin exigere in its two meanings ‘to enforce payment of’ and ‘to weigh exactly’. Exigent corresponds to the first of these and means ‘exacting’ or ‘urgent’:

• He was a man whose personal life, though occasionally exigent, never became a siren song —A. S. Byatt, 1988

• It was…very much the brainchild of its two editors who ensured that its range and quality of content was up to their own exigent standards —Independent, 1999.

Exiguous corresponds to the second meaning and means ‘very small, sparse, scanty’:

• She gulped it down, paid the exiguous dispensing fee, and left the premises —E. R. Taylor, 1991

• For an octogenarian who has led an extraordinarily rich life, a mere two sparse pages of chronology is just about as biographically exiguous as you can get —Times Higher Education Supplement, 2002.

Modern English usage. 2014.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Exiguous — Ex*ig u*ous, a. [L. exiguus.] Scanty; small; slender; diminutive. [R.] Exiguous resources. Carlyle. {Ex*ig uous*ness}, n. [R.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • exiguous — index minimal, slight Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • exiguous — scanty, 1650s, from L. exiguus small, petty, paltry, scanty in measure or number, from exigere (see EXACT (Cf. exact)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • exiguous — *meager, scant, scanty, skimpy, scrimpy, spare, sparse Analogous words: diminutive, tiny, *small, little: tenuous, slender, slight, *thin: limited, restricted, confined (see LIMIT vb) Antonyms: capacious, ample …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • exiguous — [adj] scanty bare, confined, diminutive, inadequate, limited, little, meager, narrow, negligible, paltry, petty, poor, restricted, skimpy, slender, slight, small, spare, sparse, tenuous, thin, tiny; concepts 771,789 Ant. plenty …   New thesaurus

  • exiguous — ► ADJECTIVE formal ▪ very small. ORIGIN Latin exiguus scanty …   English terms dictionary

  • exiguous — [eg zig′yo͞o əs, igzig′yo͞o əs] adj. [L exiguus, small < exigere: see EXACT] scanty; little; small; meager exiguity [ek΄sə gyo͞o′ə tē] n …   English World dictionary

  • exiguous — adjective Etymology: Latin exiguus, from exigere Date: 1651 excessively scanty ; inadequate < wrest an exiguous existence from the land > < exiguous evidence > • exiguously adverb • exiguousness noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • exiguous — Meager Mea ger, Meagre Mea gre, a. [OE. merge, F. maigre, L. macer; akin to D. & G. mager, Icel. magr, and prob. to Gr. makro s long. Cf. {Emaciate}, {Maigre}.] [1913 Webster] 1. Destitue of, or having little, flesh; lean. [1913 Webster] Meager… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • exiguous — exiguity /ek si gyooh i tee/, exiguousness, n. exiguously, adv. /ig zig yooh euhs, ik sig /, adj. scanty; meager; small; slender: exiguous income. [1645 55; < L exiguus scanty in measure or number, small, equiv. to exig(ere) (see EXIGENT) + uus… …   Universalium

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