excessively scanty : inadequate wrest an exiguous existence from the land exiguous evidence.

Exiguous derives from the Latin exiguus, which has the same basic meaning as the modern English term. "Exiguus," in turn, derives from the Latin verb exigere, which is variously translated as "to demand," "to drive out," or "to weigh or measure." The idea of weighing or measuring so precisely as to be parsimonious or petty gave "exiguous" its present sense of inadequacy. Just so we aren't accused of being skimpy with the details, we should also mention that "exigere" is the parent term underlying other English words including "exact" and "exigent."