If you lean on something, you incline your body against it, like the way you lean against a wall while waiting in line. If you lean on a person, you rely on her for moral support, like the way you lean on your best friend when you’re feeling sad or worried.

If you’re tired, lean back in your chair. If you’re broke, lean on your family for financial help. But something can lean all by itself, if it’s not standing straight. The famous Tower of Pisa leans at an angle of about 4 degrees. As an adjective, we use lean to describe something skimpy or lacking excess flesh. When you’re experiencing financial difficulty, you could say you’re going through lean (not prosperous) times.

Definitions of lean
  1. verb

    incline or bend from a vertical position

    leaned over the banister”
    angle, slant, tilt, tip
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    incline, pitch, slope

    be at an angle

    cause to slope
    heel, list

    tilt to one side
    lean back, recline

    move the upper body backwards and down

    slope upwards

    sag, bend, bend over or down

    slope downward

    slope upward

    slope downwards
    fall back

    fall backwards and down
    type of:

    bend, flex

    form a curve

  2. verb

    cause to lean or incline

    leaned his rifle against the wall”
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    type of:

    lay, place, pose, position, put, set

    put into a certain place or abstract location

  3. verb

    cause to lean to the side


    heel, list

    tilt to one side
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    type of:


    move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion

  4. noun

    the property possessed by a line or surface that departs from the vertical

    inclination, leaning, list, tilt
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    type of:

    position, spatial relation

    the spatial property of a place where or way in which something is situated

  5. verb

    have a tendency or disposition to do or be something; be inclined

    be given, incline, run, tend
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    take kindly to

    be willing or inclined to accept

    be given to

    move toward
    type of:


    have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)

  6. verb

    rely on for support

    “We can
    lean on this man”
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    type of:

    bank, rely, swear, trust

    have confidence or faith in

  7. adjective

    containing little excess

    lean budget”

    deficient, insufficient

    of a quantity not able to fulfill a need or requirement
  8. adjective

    lacking excess flesh

    “”Yon Cassius has a
    lean and hungry look”-Shakespeare”


    having a build with little fat or muscle but with long limbs
    anorectic, anorexic

    suffering from anorexia nervosa; pathologically thin
    bony, cadaverous, emaciated, gaunt, haggard, pinched, skeletal, wasted

    very thin especially from disease or hunger or cold
    deep-eyed, hollow-eyed, sunken-eyed

    characteristic of the bony face of a cadaver
    gangling, gangly, lanky

    tall and thin
    lank, spindly

    long and lean

    having a lean and bony physique
    reedlike, reedy

    resembling a reed in being upright and slender
    twiggy, twiglike

    thin as a twig

    resembling a scarecrow in being thin and ragged
    boney, scraggy, scrawny, skinny, underweight, weedy

    being very thin
    shriveled, shrivelled, shrunken, withered, wizen, wizened

    lean and wrinkled by shrinkage as from age or illness
    slender, slight, slim, svelte

    being of delicate or slender build
    slender-waisted, slim-waisted, wasp-waisted

    having a small waist
    spare, trim

    thin and fit
    spindle-legged, spindle-shanked

    having long slender legs
    stringy, wiry

    lean and sinewy
    wisplike, wispy

    thin and weak

    of relatively small extent from one surface to the opposite or in cross section
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    having an (over)abundance of flesh
    endomorphic, pyknic

    having a squat and fleshy build
    abdominous, paunchy, potbellied

    having a large belly

    swollen with fat
    chubby, embonpoint, plump

    sufficiently fat so as to have a pleasing fullness of figure
    buxom, zaftig, zoftig

    (of a female body) healthily plump and vigorous
    corpulent, obese, rotund, weighty

    excessively fat
    double-chinned, jowly, loose-jowled

    having sagging folds of flesh beneath the chin or lower jaw
    dumpy, podgy, pudgy, roly-poly, tubby

    short and plump

    somewhat fat
    fleshy, heavy, overweight

    usually describes a large person who is fat but has a large frame to carry it
    gross, porcine

    repellently fat
    portly, stout

    euphemisms for `fat’

    curving and somewhat round in shape rather than jagged

    not thin; of a specific thickness or of relatively great extent from one surface to the opposite usually in the smallest of the three solid dimensions
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  9. adjective

    not profitable or prosperous

    lean year”


    producing little or no profit or gain
  10. adjective

    lacking in mineral content or combustible material

    lean ore”
    lean fuel”
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    high in mineral content; having a high proportion of fuel to air

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