paucity

noun
pau·​ci·​ty | \ ˈpȯ-sə-tē How to pronounce paucity (audio) \

Definition of paucity

1 : smallness of number : fewness
2 : smallness of quantity : dearth

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Learn a Little About Paucity

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."

Examples of paucity in a Sentence

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 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 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 a paucity of useful answers to the problem of traffic congestion at rush hour
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Recent Examples on the Web

Xanadu is shrunk in an instant to a stub of ugly woodland, the paucity and inadequacy of reality exposed in the horror of its dullness. James Parker, The Atlantic, "The Spectacular P. T. Barnum," 19 July 2019 The paucity of profit (absent fraud, which must remain a potential explanation) can only be attributed to India’s dreadful business infrastructure. Girish Shahane, Quartz India, "Why Café Coffee Day’s immense popularity didn’t translate into big profits," 1 Aug. 2019 And astronomers are trying to understand the paucity of planets just a little bit bigger than Earth. Quanta Magazine, "Wandering Space Rocks Help Solve Mysteries of Planet Formation," 16 July 2019 And yet, there still seems to be a paucity of realistic, nuanced depictions of the internal lives of mothers in popular culture. Alexandra Alter, New York Times, "What to Expect When You’re Expecting Evil," 6 July 2019 January: Wolf moon Native Americans and medieval Europeans supposedly named January's full moon after the howling of hungry wolves lamenting the midwinter paucity of food. National Geographic, "Learn about the lunar cycle, as well as the origins of the many names given to each month's full moon.," 15 June 2019 The paucity of clinical trials means that there’s little data or research on these therapies. Caroline Chen, ProPublica, "Citing “Safety Concerns,” FDA Cautions National Marketer of Unproven Stem Cell Treatments," 31 May 2019 The paucity of loos on a mountain or moor is unavoidable, and to an extent one becomes inured to pulling down your pants in the countryside. The Economist, "For women, running is still an act of defiance," 28 June 2019 That’s led to a paucity of female CEOs that despite employers’ claims of championing their careers, isn’t improving. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "More People Named Jeffrey Got Top CEO Jobs Than Women Last Year," 27 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'paucity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of paucity

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for paucity

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

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Dictionary Entries near paucity

pauciloquy

paucispiral

paucis verbis

paucity

paughty

paukpan

Paul

Statistics for paucity

Last Updated

5 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for paucity

The first known use of paucity was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for paucity

paucity

noun

English Language Learners Definition of paucity

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on paucity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for paucity

Spanish Central: Translation of paucity

Nglish: Translation of paucity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of paucity for Arabic Speakers

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