Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

paucity

play
noun pau·ci·ty \ˈpȯ-sə-tē\

Simple Definition of paucity

  • : a small amount of something : an amount that is less than what is needed or wanted

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of paucity

  1. 1 :  smallness of number :  fewness

  2. 2 :  smallness of quantity :  dearth

Examples of paucity in a sentence

  1. If you had one of those Yugoslav names with a paucity of vowels, you might sprinkle in a few … —Calvin Trillin, Time, 22 May 2000

  2. For my part, I find increasingly that I miss the simplicity, the almost willful paucity, of the English way of doing things. —Bill Bryson, I'm a Stranger Here Myself, 1999

  3. This relative paucity of freeloaders and deadbeats means that rookie Americans, as a group, more than pay their way. —Jaclyn Fierman, Fortune, 9 Aug. 1993

  4. <a paucity of useful answers to the problem of traffic congestion at rush hour>



Did You Know?

Paucity, which was first recorded in English in the 15th century, comes to us from the Middle English word paucite, and is ultimately derived from "paucus," Latin for little. It is not surprising, then, that "paucity" came to refer to a "littleness" of numbers (as in "a paucity of facts or studies") or quantity ("a paucity of evidence"). One can even use paucity when speaking of abstract concepts, as in "a paucity of experience or knowledge."

Origin of paucity

Middle English paucite, from Latin paucitat-, paucitas, from paucus little — more at few


First Known Use: 15th century



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up paucity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the range of perception or understanding

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alt-5746713d76276

Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

perplex soothe reduce disapprove
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ