Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “lean”

See all translations

lean

adjective
 
 
/liːn/
MANAGEMENT using fewer employees or less money in order to decrease waste, while continuing to operate effectively: Companies are downsizing, aiming to be leaner and more efficient, with demands on employees for greater productivity. With the application of lean management principles, suppliers and distributors have streamlined their processes.lean enterprise/operation/organization When it comes to costs, they pride themselves on running a lean operation.get/become leaner The pack-houses and their workers have had to become leaner. lean retailers/suppliers
if a period of time is lean, there is not enough money or business at that time: lean period/times/years Funding has been increased to some programs suffering from several years of lean budgets.
if costs, goods for sale, materials, or quantities of workers are lean, they are very low, or kept as low as possible: Cold weather across the U.S. signaled a surge in demand for natural gas products at a time when inventories are uncomfortably lean. Working quickly and cheaply, with lean staffs and even leaner budgets, contract manufacturers have long played a supporting role in the computer business.
leanness noun [U]
(Definition of lean from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of lean?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “lean” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

pup

a baby of particular animals, or a puppy

Word of the Day

I won’t tolerate it! Replacing formal words with phrasal verbs.

by Liz Walter,
April 01, 2015
When you are using a language, it is important to understand if a word is formal or informal, so that you can use it in an appropriate way. You might hear people saying dosh for money, or spud for potato, but they wouldn’t write those words in a formal essay. Similarly, a

Read More 

stackin’ p

March 30, 2015
idiom slang earning a lot of money ‘That’s a very generous present.”Yeah, well, she’s stackin’ p, innit?’

Read More