Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

rare

play
adjective \ˈrer\

Definition of rare

rar·errar·est

  1. 1 :  marked by wide separation of component particles :  thin <rare air>

  2. 2 a :  marked by unusual quality, merit, or appeal :  distinctive b :  superlative or extreme of its kind

  3. 3 :  seldom occurring or found :  uncommon

rare·ness noun


Origin of rare

Middle English, from Latin rarus


First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of rare

choice, option, alternative, preference, selection, election mean the act or opportunity of choosing or the thing chosen. choice suggests the opportunity or privilege of choosing freely <freedom of choice>. option implies a power to choose that is specifically granted or guaranteed <the option of paying now or later>. alternative implies a need to choose one and reject another possibility <equally attractive alternatives>. preference suggests a choice guided by one's judgment or predilections <a preference for cool weather>. selection implies a range of choice <a varied selection of furniture>. election implies an end or purpose which requires exercise of judgment <doing a tax return forces certain elections on you>.

choice, exquisite, elegant, rare, delicate, dainty mean having qualities that appeal to a cultivated taste. choice stresses preeminence in quality or kind <choice fabric>. exquisite implies a perfection in workmanship or design that appeals only to very sensitive taste <an exquisite gold bracelet>. elegant applies to what is rich and luxurious but restrained by good taste <a sumptuous but elegant dining room>. rare suggests an uncommon excellence <rare beauty>. delicate implies exquisiteness, subtlety, and fragility <delicate craftsmanship>. dainty sometimes carries an additional suggestion of smallness and of appeal to the eye or palate <dainty sandwiches>.

infrequent, uncommon, scarce, rare, sporadic mean not common or abundant. infrequent implies occurrence at wide intervals in space or time <infrequent family visits>. uncommon suggests a frequency below normal expectation <smallpox is now uncommon in many countries>. scarce implies falling short of a standard or required abundance <jobs were scarce during the Depression>. rare suggests extreme scarcity or infrequency and often implies consequent high value <rare first editions>. sporadic implies occurrence in scattered instances or isolated outbursts <sporadic cases of influenza>.

2

rare

adjective

Definition of rare

rar·errar·est

  1. :  cooked so that the inside is still red <rare roast beef>



Origin of rare

alteration of earlier rere, from Middle English, from Old English hrēre boiled lightly; akin to Old English hrēran to stir, Old High German hruoren


First Known Use: 1784




Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

February 14, 2016

to hug and kiss another person

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image33683556

How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

196.5 pounds 100 pounds 16.96 pounds 2.2 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ