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Mar 21, 2006 08:56 PM

scant - definition

  • b

I have never understood the definition of the word scant. Now I know that literally it means "bearly" or " almost". But how does that apply to a recipe in which " a scant cup of milk" is one of the ingredients. Doesn't one cup mean one cup?

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  1. I've always interpreted scant as the opposite of heaping in a recipe. It's enough to mention, but not to change the measurement. In your example, it's not enough to say 3/4c. or even 7/8c., but it's a bit less than a cup.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Aaron

      Yup. But also a hint to use judgement. Most often with sugar, but also with other dry ingredients, I picture the eating audience and the other ingredients in measuring. Kids need less sugar (7/8 cup); the blueberries are flavorful (ditto); my parents have dulled tastebuds (closer to 1 cup).

      There are very few recipes that call for 7/8 cup. So what if 3/4 cup is too little and 1 cup is too much? 1/4 cup difference is a lot. So in lieu of 7/8 is "scant."

    2. I take it to mean barely, that is don't be tempted to go over the measure at all.

      1. This is very interesting. I have almost been afraid to ask what scant means. Now there seems to be a difference of opinion between Aaron and Steve's similar definition and Karl's opposite view. Any other ideas out there?

        1. I would agree w/ Karl S. - just don't go over the measuring cup. I also tend to be wary of recipes that use such terms - or at least feel "forewarned" that it may need some tinkering. A lot of that would depend also on what the recipe was for.

          1. a little less than...