What Does Slender Mean?

05 January 2024

Hi there! This week on Ask a Teacher, we answer a question from Nirmala about the meaning of the word "slender."


Hello Teacher,

Ask a Teacher: What Does Slender Mean?
Ask a Teacher: What Does Slender Mean?

I'm Nirmala.

What does the word "slender" mean?

Thank you,



Thank you for writing to us, Nirmala!

As the year starts, many people make new goals. A large number of them center on losing weight. This is a great time for this question! We will talk about the word "slender" and offer some synonyms to help you compare and understand this word better.


The word "slender" is an adjective.

The first meaning has to do with body shape. Something slender is small around, especially in comparison to its length. A slender person has no extra fat and little roundness, usually in an appealing way.

In other words, slender has a positive connotation when used to describe a person. The word "skinny" on the other hand, suggests an underweight condition that is not appealing.

The slender girl could walk through the narrow opening in the fence.

Many cultures considered a long, slender neck beautiful.

Some synonyms that you can use in place of "slender" include "slim," "lean" and "thin." These words all have a more positive association to them than "skinny." But what separates them from "slender" is the idea that "slender" also includes the association of "graceful."

Slender can also be used to describe non-physical things.

The mayoral candidate won by a slender number of votes.

In that sentence, slender means small.

Spending money is slender just before payday.

In that one, it means limited.

The slender glass tube was all that protected the rare sample.

In that last sentence, slender means small but also suggests a delicate, or easily breakable, quality.

Please let us know if these explanations and examples have helped you, Nirmala.

Do you have a question about American English? Send us an email at learningenglish@voanews.com.

And that's Ask a Teacher.

I'm Faith Pirlo.

Faith Pirlo wrote this lesson for VOA Learning English.


Words in This Story

synonym n. a word that is similar in meaning to another word

connotation – n. the feelings or ideas that words give in addition to their meanings

sample – n. a part (as a set of individuals chosen from a whole population) used for investigating the whole

graceful – n. n form or action: pleasing or attractive in line, proportion, or movement