Is there an expression in English for a thin old woman which corresponds to "Dry as a root" in French?

  • "Dry as a root" is English, not French. If there's a specific French phrase you're thinking of, I believe you're allowed to include it. However, there are some guidelines for translation questions you might want to look over. In particular, you should include more information about the meaning and context of the phrase. english.stackexchange.com/tags/translation/info – herisson May 17 '15 at 7:02
  • Do you want an idiom which describes her thinness ("stick-thin") or some other aspect? – Andrew Leach May 17 '15 at 7:55
  • Are you looking for something like "thin as a rail" or "thin as a rake"? Because we never use dry for thin in English the way the French seem to use sèche. – Peter Shor May 17 '15 at 10:20
  • 1
    Maybe you're looking for the word withered. See Ngrams. – Peter Shor May 17 '15 at 10:26
  • Collins on sec comme un coup de trique – Andrew Leach May 17 '15 at 11:23

We say "withered" to describe a thin, dried-out, elderly person - as in:

"She's a 'withered old bag/hag/nag/bird',"


"He's a 'withered old coot/codger'."

(If you're trying to be nice, substitute "faded" for "withered", and use "flower" for a woman and "warrior" for a man.) (US)

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It doesn't explicitly refer to an old woman, but people (including myself) will often use the phrase "as skinny as a rake".

She's as skinny as a rake!

You could make reference to the woman's age if you wanted to by modifying the sentence to something like:

That old bag's as skinny as a rake!

"Old bag" is a slang term (sometimes considered derogatory) for an old woman; usually one with a bad temper.

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  • The previous answer's user handle give you the idea?! – Tushar Raj May 18 '15 at 7:50
  • Ha! I swear I didn't even notice that! An entertaining username nonetheless. – Dog Lover May 18 '15 at 7:54
  • Just kidding. However, I don't think skinny is exclusive to old people – Tushar Raj May 18 '15 at 7:59
  • Thank you. I think in the context I need, "Skinny as a rake" is enough. I had read "Thin as a lath" somewhere once. Is that too old fashioned? – Gerald May 18 '15 at 9:01
  • @Gerald To be honest, I have never heard of "thin as a lath". – Dog Lover May 18 '15 at 9:22

It's not an expression, but a single word. Still, I think you can try decrepit

1.1 (Of a person) elderly and infirm:

a rather decrepit old woman


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