We're working on a new site. Click here to get a sneak preview.


adjective \ˈspärs\

: present only in small amounts : less than necessary or normal; especially : thinly covering an area : not thick or full


Full Definition of SPARSE

:  of few and scattered elements; especially :  not thickly grown or settled
sparse·ly adverb
sparse·ness noun
spar·si·ty \ˈspär-sə-tē, -stē\ noun

Examples of SPARSE

  1. <open land is sparse around here>

Origin of SPARSE

Latin sparsus spread out, from past participle of spargere to scatter — more at spark
First Known Use: 1753

Synonym Discussion of SPARSE

meager, scanty, scant, skimpy, spare, sparse mean falling short of what is normal, necessary, or desirable. meager implies the absence of elements, qualities, or numbers necessary to a thing's richness, substance, or potency <a meager portion of meat>. scanty stresses insufficiency in amount, quantity, or extent <supplies too scanty to last the winter>. scant suggests a falling short of what is desired or desirable rather than of what is essential <in January the daylight hours are scant>. skimpy usually suggests niggardliness or penury as the cause of the deficiency <tacky housing developments on skimpy lots>. spare may suggest a slight falling short of adequacy or merely an absence of superfluity <a spare, concise style of writing>. sparse implies a thin scattering of units <a sparse population>.

Rhymes with SPARSE

SPARSITY Defined for Kids


adjective \ˈspärs\

Definition of SPARSE for Kids

:  not thickly grown or settled <a sparse beard>
sparse·ly adverb <a sparsely populated village>


Next Word in the Dictionary: SpartacistPrevious Word in the Dictionary: sparry limestoneAll Words Near: sparse
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears