scant lines on his skin

Couch Tomato

Senior Member
Russian & Dutch
Eddie watched the Captain closely. He had always thought of him as so much older. But now, with some of the coal ash rubbed from his face, Eddie noticed the scant lines on his skin and the full head of dark hair. He must have only been in his 30s.
(The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom)

According to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary "scant" means "barely sufficient or adequate" or "barely amounting to the amount specified".

The meaning here seems clear, the captain had few lines on his skin, but is this a normal way to express this idea? It seems strange to me to talk about lines in terms of "bareley sufficient or adequate". Would you express this idea with "scant"?

Thank you in advance.
 
  • lizzyld

    Member
    British English
    In this context, scant is used because the captian had 'scant' lines on his skin to be as old as Eddy originally thought he was.
     

    Couch Tomato

    Senior Member
    Russian & Dutch
    In this context, scant is used because the captian had 'scant' lines on his skin to be as old as Eddy originally thought he was.
    Thanks, but I'm still not getting it :(. Eddie thought that the Captain was much older, but then he saw that he had scant lines on his skin. Doesn't that mean that he had few/no lines on his skin?

    Initially he thought that he was much older, but when he noticed that he had few lines on his skin, it hit him that he was only in his 30's. Is that about right?
     
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