pau·​ci·​ty ˈpȯ-sə-tē How to pronounce paucity (audio)
: smallness of number : fewness
: smallness of quantity : dearth

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Learn a Little About Paucity

Paucity refers to "littleness" in numbers (as in "a paucity of facts") or quantity ("a paucity of common sense"). The word comes from paucus, Latin for "little."

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
Recent Examples on the Web Research disproves the notion that homeless people migrate to the West Coast for the weather; rather, a comparative paucity of shelter beds likely explains the more overt presence of homelessness there. Jennifer Egan, The New Yorker, 11 Sep. 2023 Reductions in heart attacks and strokes have had big benefits for public health, but the paucity of major medical breakthroughs has been accompanied by slowing improvements in life expectancy for seniors. Alicia Parlapiano,, 5 Sep. 2023 Given that Taylor Swift is the most popular pop star on the planet — or maybe because of that — there’s been a surprising paucity of covers of her hundreds of tunes by other name-brand artists over the years. Chris Willman, Variety, 23 Aug. 2023 There are many reasons to fear a new fungal pathogen—from the paucity of antifungal drug options to lack of vaccines and diagnostic difficulties in humans, to the potential for catastrophic crop and wildlife disease. Emily Monosson, Time, 11 July 2023 Because of the paucity of reporting, just how many witch hunts derive from such competition over resources is unknown. Silvia Federici, Scientific American, 17 Apr. 2023 The paucity of coverage around Cruz’s family’s challenges is almost heartening, considering ::waves hands around::. Ana Marie Cox, The New Republic, 24 Feb. 2023 The paucity of health care professionals practicing in rural areas is particularly acute, fueled in part by the decline of students from rural backgrounds pursuing health care education. James Herbert, STAT, 17 Feb. 2023 Cool, thick lithosphere is mechanically stronger than warm, thin lithosphere, which could explain the Emerald Isle’s puzzling paucity of earthquakes. Elise Cutts, Discover Magazine, 29 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'paucity.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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


Dictionary Entries Near paucity

Cite this Entry

“Paucity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


pau·​ci·​ty ˈpȯ-sət-ē How to pronounce paucity (audio)
: smallness of number or quantity : scarcity
a paucity of experience

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