1. Wanting flesh; destitute of or deficient in fat; not plump; meager; thin; lank; as, a lean body; a lean cattle.
2. Wanting fullness, richness, sufficiency, or productiveness; deficient in quality or contents; slender; scant; barren; bare; mean; -- used literally and figuratively; as, the lean harvest; a lean purse; a lean discourse; lean wages. "No lean wardrobe." Shak.
"Their lean and flashy songs." -- Milton.
"What the land is, whether it be fat or lean." -- Num. xiii. 20.
"Out of my lean and low ability I'll lend you something." -- Shak.
3. (Typog.) Of a character which prevents the compositor from earning the usual wages; -- opposed to fat; as, lean copy, matter, or type.
Syn. -- slender; spare; thin; meager; lank; skinny; gaunt.